Going to a nice tea house to enjoy a cake with a tea/coffee has become more and more trendy recently. Asian tea houses start to bloom in Paris. The “Salon de Thé Chinois, Matcha 初代” was opened about 6 months ago. It is a franchised shop of a matcha dessert brand called “Sho Dai”, headquartered in Xi’an, China. As a super matcha lover, my friends and I went to try their desserts out last month.
From a book I read before, matcha is the powder form of green tea leaves. Matcha is generally more valued than green tea. It is believed to be good for health and beauty. Matcha has dietary fibers (40% to maintain a proper balance for the gut flora) and Catechin (an excellent antioxidant). It also contains caffeine to keep us awake and theanine (amino acid) to make us feel more relaxed. I like matcha simply because of its taste which especially goes well with red beans, milk/cream, black sesame, etc.
Stepping into the tea house, I felt like going from a modern Paris back to an old China as seen in movies and on TV. The ceiling is spiced up with long hanging lights and oil-paper umbrellas with floral patterns. The paintings on the walls are more Japanese style, but they are in harmony with the tables, chairs and other decorations. Their toilet, not neglected by the owner, is beautifully and neatly decorated.
While I was still amazed by their interior design, my friend passed me the menu, urging me to order something to eat. They looked very hungry and gourmand. We ordered 6 desserts and 4 drinks.
- Green Tree (Matcha ice cream with glutinous rice balls, rea beans and an Oreo)
- Matcha Roll Cake with Red Bean Paste
- Matcha Opera Cake
- Matcha Mille Crepe Cake
- Hickory Matcha Mille Crepe Cake
- Mango Mille Crepe Cake
- Matcha Cheese
- Matcha Mocha
- Rose Tea
In general, the matcha taste is not very strong in all the desserts. It would be ideal for people who do not like matcha as much as I do. I would prefer a more prominent taste of matcha. Visually, the Green Tree is appealing. Matching ice cream with glutinous rice balls is new to me. But why not? I tried one bite of the ice cream ─ the taste is light, but not too sugary. The green color of the ice cream is too vivid, which makes it look a bit artificial. My Matcha Roll Cake was very delicious ─ floppy sponge cake with sweetened and soft red bean paste. Matcha and red beans are always a perfect match.
Opera Cakes are famous French cakes made with almond-layered biscuits soaked in Grand Marnier or coffee syrup, ganache and coffee buttercream. They are usually rectangular, but the Matcha Opera Cake here is square shaped. The cake is quite compact and the coffee taste was unavoidably covered by matcha. I like the Matcha Mille Crepe Cake very much. The matcha cream and the crepe are light and soft, melting in my mouth rapidly. However, the Mango Mille Crepe Cake is a bit heavy for me. The layers of the cream are thicker, which makes the whole cake too creamy. It was much less enjoyable when eating it. The two matcha drinks we ordered are big and taste good. The tea is well-scented.
No matter if you are a matcha fan or not, I would still recommend this tea house to you. There are plenty of choices of desserts and drinks (some are non-matcha). You can easily spend a couple of relaxing hours in this aesthetically pleasing tea house.
Environment / Atmosphere: 4.5
The old Chinese interior design is charming, yet not extravagant. It is not too noisy and there are some quieter corners for 2-4 people to enjoy their cakes and drinks.
Appearance / design of desserts: 3.5
I like the green color in almost all desserts. The Hello Kitty pattern on the Matcha Cheese drink is very cute. However, the appearance of the desserts is more or less normal and ordinary.
As a tea house specializing in matcha, it might be better to make the matcha taste stronger. The cream in some desserts could be lighter (less oily). Other than that, they taste good.
Good and fast service. Friendly and helpful staff.
Price-performance ratio: 4
The desserts and drinks are slightly overpriced when comparing with other Chinese tea houses, yet within the acceptable range. It is overall quite a satisfying price-performance ratio.
Salon de Thé Chinois, Matcha 初代
Add: 5 Rue Volta, 75003 Paris
Tel: +33 1 40 27 95 82
Métro: Arts et Métiers (Line 3 & 11), Temple (Line 3), République (Line 3, 5, 8, 9 & 11)
Price: desserts from 4€; a drink from 6€
Opening hours: every day, 12:00-22:30
Remarks: They also serve a few salty dishes. You may have lunch or dinner there.