Chinese Tea and Cake in Bedfordview

by | Jan 21, 2023 | Ekurhuleni (East Rand), Food and Drink, Johannesburg | 19 comments

Tomorrow is the Lunar New Year — the Year of the Rabbit — and this is my first Joburg post of 2023. In celebration of both these facts, I’m thrilled to tell you about Tea and Antique, a brand-new Chinese establishment in Bedfordview.

Tea and Antique, which opened about a month ago, is a traditional Chinese tea house serving delicate, beautifully presented Chinese teas. It’s also a Chinese restaurant with a compact menu of tasty dumplings, buns, and a couple of other dishes. Most exciting of all, it’s a bakery, offering delightful Chinese pastries that are hand-made by Nini, the owner.

Chinese cakes at Tea and Antique in Bedfordview
I have so many fun photos from Tea and Antique; I’m not sure how to organize them or which ones to present first. Here is the wondrous pastry case.
Nini and her cakes
Nini, a self-taught pastry chef, with the cakes we ordered. Nini is originally from the city of Xi’an, in China’s Shaanxi Province, and moved to Joburg six years ago. Nini is a joy to talk to and took a lot of time to explain her teas and cakes to us.

Tea and Antique is the kind of place I enjoy blogging about most: small, local, offbeat, and hidden away on a suburban street in the East Rand. I love that Nini has an interesting story to tell, and I love how carefully thought through everything is — from the funky glassware to the beautifully printed cards describing the different teas and cakes.

A Chinese Lunch/Afternoon Tea in Bedfordview

Eating at Tea and Antique was the perfect way to kick off my 2023 Joburg explorations. I went with fellow Jozi bloggers Attiya and Gail — thanks to Gail for discovering Tea and Antique and suggesting we go there.

First, the decor: Nini’s husband, Jonsen, is an antiques collector and has filled the shop with antique furniture and ceramics (which I assume are for sale, although I didn’t ask). The space is bright and cheerful.

Lunch with Gail and Attiya
Lunching in Bedfordview with two of my favorite Jozi explorers.
Buddha at Tea and Antique
A happy Buddha.
Tea and Antique shop
Attiya chats with Nini at the shop counter.

Next, the shop: Nini sells an eclectic yet carefully curated selection of tea, clothing, jewelry, and other novelties, all imported from China.

Clothes for sale at Tea and Antique
I love all of these, especially the kids’ clothes.
Tea for sale
Tea for sale.
Gail in Chinese crown
Gail models a traditional Chinese crown and fan.
Nini and Gail
Including this because I want to show off Nini’s fabulous hair clip.

Last, and most important: The meal. This was the most enjoyable Chinese culinary experience I’ve ever had.

We started with chilled, sweetened black tea, served in a glass flask with tumblers that are interestingly rounded on the bottom. We also tried the chilled green tea, which I really enjoyed.

Cold tea from Tea and Antique
You can’t tell in the photo but this tumbler has a very interesting wobbly bottom, which I think is supposed to make the glass hard to knock over.

We then moved on to dumplings — two pork varieties and one shrimp. The fried pork dumplings, which were stuffed with chopped greens and spices as well as pork, were my favorite.

Chinese dumplings
The fried pork dumplings are on the right.

We then moved on to the cakes.

Chinese cakes
The wonderful cake presentation — note the cards, which have fun descriptions and stories (in both English and Chinese) about the cakes. The green cake and the yellow one behind it are green bean cakes, made with mung beans. I liked these cakes the best. The cake to the right is a “dish towel cake”, which wasn’t on the menu but Gail somehow knew to order it. The dish towel cake has layers of moist pastry and a creamy, almost cheesy filling. The cakes in the back are called palace pastries and made to look like peach blossoms, with what I think is bean paste filling.

Nini taught herself to make traditional Chinese cakes after moving to South Africa, because she thought the cakes here are far too sweet. After eating Nini’s cakes, I totally understand what she means. They’re subtle — not too sugary but just sweet enough. Eating them is a very pleasant experience.

We finished with a plate of dessert-like “salted egg buns” followed by a pot of hot tea, which Nini served in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony.

Heather and the salted egg buns
Heather and the salted egg buns. (Photo: Attiya Sayyed)
Inside the egg buns
The egg buns have a sweet, delightfully runny center. Bite carefully.
Traditional tea
Our traditional tea — which has flowers in it! — ready to be brewed.
Brewing the tea.
Brewing the tea.
Pouring the tea
Nini poured the tea into tiny, delicate cups. The tea can be brewed and poured four to five times, and each time you are supposed to assess a different aspect of the tea — the temperature, the color, the flavor, etc. Similar to the cakes, I love how subtle the tea flavor is.

We were at Tea and Antique for about two-and-a-half hours and I loved every minute. Highly recommend! Happy Year of the Rabbit.

Tea and Antique is at 11 Park Street, Bedfordview. Call +27-78-652-5533, or follow them on Facebook and Instagram. Open from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., every day except Monday.


  1. marusemiRuth

    Wow!! Thank you so much Heather…. I shall definitely try this place out ASAP. It looks wonderful.

    • 2summers

      I’m sure you’ll love it!

  2. Albert

    Oh, this looks like an interesting place to try out. Gail seems to have a nose to sniff out anything Asian it seems. 😉

  3. dizzylexa

    Wow that was quick, you captured it all so well. I loved our visit, great food, good company and TEA!

    • 2summers

      I was so excited to write about it!

  4. Nancy McDaniel

    It looks and sounds wonderful. Where is Bedfordview, Heather? I’d like to tell some friends who will be visiting Jozi next year

    • 2summers

      It’s in the East Rand (Ekurhuleni), but just off the N3 highway so not terribly far from the centre of Joburg.

  5. AutumnAshbough

    That looks marvelous! Thanks for all the descriptions. I love that you got chilled tea in the summer–that’s a great and unusual adaptation. (Some older Chinese folks and some traditionalists have a whole thing against cold drinks, especially tea, even when it is very hot.)

    • 2summers

      Oh that’s interesting. I’m glad NiNi deviates from tradition on that one – it’s so hot here right now!

      • AutumnAshbough

        I’m hoping the popularity of boba tea makes cold drinks more acceptable!

  6. Dalton Adams

    OMG. I must go here. I’ve gotten all interested in Chinese holidays since teaching online. Those moon cakes look delish!

  7. Phillipa

    I love these kind of places that you find out randomly about, and then they turn out to be a fun and exciting experience! More and more please!! (plus I really enjoy how you write about your experiences and share your pictures)

    • 2summers

      Thanks so much Philipa!

  8. Lani

    Happy Chinese New Year, Heather! xo

    • 2summers

      Thanks Lani! You too.

  9. Margaret Urban

    Thanks for the lovely post Heather. I’ll be going there quite soon for sure; looks like a special new spot.

    • 2summers

      You’ll love it!


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