Let’s talk about adorable things. Let’s talk about tea. Let’s talk about things that make me sigh and say “aaaah, I feel thirteen again. Or six.”
Such an experience can be had at Sweet Bubble Café, on No. 3 Road. After having walked past it about 1001 times on my way to Brighouse Station, my friend Hannah and I finally went there yesterday for late afternoon tea and a snack. It has plenty of seating, and several large couch areas for groups.
Their drink menu is enormous, with every kind of yogurt drink, milkshake, slush, herbal/milk/fruit/green tea imaginable, and a page dedicated to sweet and savoury food. Their bubble waffles and regular waffles are apparently quite good, but we opted to try something new, and ordered the Taiwanese crepe with ham and cheese ($5.95), and the thick toast with sweet black sesame ($3.50). Hannah chose a hot lavender milk tea with pearls ($6.25), and I asked for a hot rose petal tea with coconut jelly ($6.25).
When our server brought out the ‘tea set,’ we began clasping our hands, cooing, and generally succumbing to the preciousness of it all. It included: small glass teacups and saucers, tiny spoons, glass teapots with built-in strainers, small glass pitchers filled with tapioca pearls/coconut jelly,
and itsy-bitsy pitchers filled with dark liquid sugar so we could sweeten the tea to our liking. It was ah-dorable. The parts that felt especially childlike were the graphics on the side of the teapots, with “Gaspard et Lisa” written below them. On mine, two puppies were blowing up balloons (as puppies do):
And on Hannah’s, a puppy and kitten were swinging on a swing (as puppies and kittens do).
Being out of the loop with kids’ shows these days, we had to look it up; it turns out Gaspard and Lisa is a popular children’s television show that began in 2011, and “Gaspard is an anthropomorphic six-year-old black dog. He wears a blue scarf. His best friend is Lisa and he sits next to her in class.”
“Lisa is an anthropomorphic six year-old white dog. She wears a red scarf. Her best friend is Gaspard.” (who wears a pretty sweet satchel).
Well, now that we have THAT figured out, let’s talk about the tea. Hannah’s pot was filled with hot milk and a generous amount of dried lavender, which steeped into a strong, fragrant mixture. I’d only recommend this if you enjoy the flavour of lavender, which to me, tastes as it looks and smells – pale purple, floral, and of French fields. It is lovely.
My tea was much milder, and though it tasted a little less ‘rosy’ than I expected, it was quite nice. The chunks of coconut jelly were firm, and tasted almost of pineapple. The tapioca pearls that came with Hannah’s tea were far too soft for my liking.
The Taiwanese crepe was like a green onion pancake (or even a roti) wrapped around strips of ham and cheddar cheese, with a drizzle of mayo. Even though the cheese was processed, I LOVED THIS THING.
It was like having a childhood Kraft cheese singles + deli ham grilled cheese sandwich, and replacing the bread with way-better flaky fried roti. Why yes, I would have another.
As for the thick toast with sweet black sesame, I should precede its description by saying “Never, ever order this thing on a first date. Or second. Or any date, for that matter.”
The finely ground black sesame paste is blacker than a remote northern sky in the darkest depths of winter. It is blacker than an oil spill mixed with charcoal, obsidian, squid ink, and the blackest of black cats. It is grainy, and nearly impossible to eat without looking like you’ve eaten dirt. Lots of it. So now you understand my advice.
Flavour-wise, the first thought I had was “it’s kind of like tahini,” which immediately made sense considering tahini is ground white sesame seeds. The sweetened black version wasn’t too sweet, which I appreciated, and a little bit nutty. It’s a nice alternative if you find thick toast with sweetened and condensed milk to be a bit much. Again, I repeat: this is only to be ordered with friends/those you are comfortable with and who will still love you even after you look like you’ve been grazing in a muddy field.
As with many bubble tea houses, Sweet Bubble Café caters to a younger crowd. I enjoyed pretty much everything we had though, and would certainly go back. Perhaps I’ll take my wee cousin, Isabella, when she’s visiting! She probably knows Gaspard and Lisa. We’ll call Bella:
“An anthropomorphic four year old brown puppy. She wears a yellow scarf. She loves teeny-tiny teacups and her Aunty Lindsay. Unlike Gaspard and Lisa, she knows how to use chopsticks properly.”
Vegetarian options available