What used to be Starhill Tea Galley in the heart of shopping heaven has been revamped, and is now Newens Tea House. Steeped in history and quality, we find that this is a true Cinderella story where tea houses are concerned.
[In The Heart of Starhill Gallery]
While the decor has been completely redone, it still maintains its resplendence, while somehow creating an air of privacy in the middle of a mall. While TWG suffers the same fate, Newens has managed to overcome the problem with their feel of a Victorian drawing room and soft lighting. It's truly an enviable balance to have achieved.
They've done such a great job of transporting you to your own little world that my friends manage to plan an Alice in Wonderland themed baby shower for me there earlier this year.
Being associated with such an esteemed name, you see very personalised and decadent touches littered throughout your experience.
And it begins with the tableware. While Newens is still under the YTL umbrella, there is a departure from the signature China we have at their other afternoon teas. The design is more pared down, lending a classier touch to it all. Couple this with the gold monogrammed napkins, and you know you're in for quite an experience.
[Monogrammed Napkins and Distinctive China]
What's lovely is that there is also a full tea menu that truly makes you feel like you're at a tea auction. There are prices listed for purchase because they truly do have tea of exceptional quality. What's so special about the tea then? It's not your run of the mill range that's available. It's a selection that is specially chosen by a dedicated tea sommelier from a very reputable merchant.
Do take note, however, that tea for two comes with only a single pot of tea (non-refillable), so you will have to order a second pot. I find this highly odd, but don't skimp on the tea here when you drop by.
[The Tea Menu]
The Starhill Jewel came highly recommended, and while I am not an avid fan of regular green tea, I do enjoy the finer versions of the brew. This particular tea is a mango-flavoured sencha.
[The Starhill Jewel]
Being someone who doesn't enjoy the taste of mango or most green teas, I must say that I am a huge fan of this particular brew. It was such a delicate flavour with the citrus notes of the mango cutting through the grassy nature of green tea just enough to lighten it to an enjoyable experience on the palate. I really do love this tea and I would go back just for it.
This brings us to the rationale behind why tea at places that take their tea seriously isn't refillable. Each type of tea undergoes a different time frame of brewing to ensure its optimal flavour. Therefore, if you leave the tea leaves in the water any longer than that, it continues to brew for longer, altering the flavour and thus your experience in consuming that particular brew. Chinese tea is specific to a tea that is meant to undergo multiple brews, thereby releasing a different taste for each subsequent pot, but the majority of teas are not.
[Afternoon Tea for 2]
While the afternoon tea at Newens looks like your standard affair, tucked within the tiers is one very special addition that you will feel compelled to return for. We shall get to that shortly.
But first, let's talk savouries!
[Cheese and Smoked Salmon Sandwiches]
The sandwiches are delicious, and I was partial to the smoked salmon. The salmon was extremely fresh and very tasty. Alongside it were cheese sandwiches, which are a nice touch if you go with a vegetarian (which I frequently do).
[Delectable Smoked Salmon]
The second tier brings you to the hybrids: Scones and tarts.
[Scones and Maid of Honour Tarts]
[Raisin and Plain Scones]
I am not a fan of raisins in any incarnation, so I went with the plain scone.
A nice touch is that it is served with strawberry preserve as opposed to jam, as it should be. Essentially, preserves are thicker, chunkier versions of jam.
Of course, there is also clotted cream. I love that Newens has replaced Starhill Tea Gallery because it used to make me livid that they insisted on sweetening their cream. Not only is that redundant, but it completely ruins the entire experience.
[The Decked-Out Scone]
The scones here were less dense, and slightly more crumbly than most, but they were still a little too dense for my liking. In any event, you don't really have afternoon tea at Newens for their scones. You go for their Maid of Honour Tarts!
[Maid of Honour Tarts]
In essence, these are the best egg tarts you will ever have, partially because they come with a scandalous history involving Henry VIII, which you can read about here.
These pastries are so good that having to let someone else eat the second one may actually ruin your friendship. I strongly suggest ordering extras on the side. It's a necessity because sharing is for losers. Seriously, if you touch my tart, I will cut you.
As mentioned, the tea for 2 comes with a single pot of tea, and that is decidedly not enough for 2 people to go through the three tiers of food with. For our second pot, we were treated to a custom blend to suit both our palates: A peach oolong.
The tea was absolutely fantastic, and I must say that I'm inclined to make my way through the tea menu at Newens!
It's really hard to compete with the Maid of Honour tarts, so making our way through the dessert tier was merely a formality. Not that they weren't good desserts, just that they paled in comparison.
If you've read my other afternoon tea reviews, you would have seen some of these desserts featured at Majestic Hotel and The Ritz-Carlton. This stems from all three of them being under the YTL group, thereby having the majority of their desserts stem from the same kitchen at Starhill Gallery.
[Apple Crumble Pastry]
The apple crumble pastry was delicious. It was neither too sweet, nor too heavy. It has a lovely fluffy base with a deliciously crumbly top.
[Raspberry Jam with Cream]
I wasn't too fond of this particular pastry because I am not a huge jam lover. It tasted like straight-up raspberry jam lightened up with cream. The outer shell tasted a touch too wholemeal-esque for my liking as well.
However, the macarons were absolutely terrific. I loved the orange chocolate macaron (I could have scarfed down a dozen), and the rose macaron got good reviews as well. The shell was crumbly, yet chewy, and the ganache was just perfect.
As my dining companion, Carol, is a fan of fruity tea unlike me, she gave the raspberry tea a shot and loved it with a touch of honey.
It is a rather tart concoction, and if I were a fan of fruit teas, I would recommend it.
Tea for two at Newens Tea House will run you RM120 nett, but you will want to order more tarts and an additional pot of tea, so do leave room in your budget for that.