This week the recently opened Gantry Hotel in Stratford, launched a new and pop-up sparkling tea bar aimed at those of you who may have overindulged a little over the festive break and made a new year’s resolution to have a ‘Dry January’.
The hotel has teamed up with sparkling tea brand Saicho for a month-long residency, taking over the Coupe at Union Social, The Gantry’s own elegant sparkling bar adjacent to the Union Social restaurant which opened last November.
The pop-up will give you not only a sophisticated drinking experience but also the chance to explore the fascinating and flavourful world of rare teas.
You will be able to try Saicho’s range of gastronomic teas paired with some tasty and innovative tea-led cocktails, curated by Gareth Evans, who was Best Bartender in GB at Diageo’s Word Class 2013, and formerly worked at Pollen Street Social and The Blind Pig.
All of Saicho’s unique expressions, which include Darjeeling, Hojicha, Jasmine and the newly launched rare Eight Immortals tea, are cold-brewed for 24 hours, and finely balanced with a hint of sweetness and a dash of acidity. Sparkling the tea as a final touch enhances the flavour and creates an effervescent drink, designed to be served chilled in a Champagne flute or coupe.
Each tea comes from a specific region and the variety expressed in that bottle has been carefully selected to accompany certain foods, flavours and textures.
With this in mind, the hotel’s chef has created a new small plates menu, designed to be served alongside each of Saicho’s uniquely flavoured teas, giving a new and one of a kind twist on the classic food and wine pairings, ideal for those of you who choose not to drink or are keen to explore the growing world of sparkling teas.
The specially prepared food pairings include a Shanghai-style braised pork belly with steamed wholegrain rice and greens (£12). This dish is the perfect accompaniment to Saicho’s bittersweet Hojicha sparkling tea, while Saicho’s Eight Immortals has been paired with the rather moreish duck spring rolls, served with Napa cabbage and an Eight Immortals infused hoi sin sauce (£8). The sweet Jasmine tea is paired with a Southeast Asian dessert known as Che Banh Lot, made with Pandan coconut jelly, compressed mango, Jasmine snow tea and vanilla Tuille biscuit (£10).
The pop-up is situated up on the first floor of hotel, overlooking the large outdoor terrace and Stratford beyond. And with its illuminated counter bar and cosy banquettes, Coupe at Union Social Sparkling Bar is the perfect place to relax, unwind and blow away those January Blues and allow yourself to be transported over to Asia as you experience some of the world’s most exquisite teas.
Saicho’s pop-up bar will run until Monday 7th February 2022. For more information, please visit The Gantry’s website: https://thegantrylondon.com
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man On The Ground, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs by Johnny Stephens Photography and courtesy of The Gantry