Sometimes in life we make choices and we don't really know the reason why. I took a wander through Battery Point and spotted a sign for devonshire tea for $6 and planned to go back there. However, when I was on my way back something told me to keep walking. I'm so glad that I listened.
I came across this little place with a ladder outside. Dangling from it was an extremely extensive tea menu. I was reading through when a gentleman poked his head out the door and said I was welcome to come inside and browse the menu. As it had just started to sprinkle with rain I gratefully did so.
After a busy morning, I'd arrived during a bit of a lull and so I had the chance to chat with the lovely proprietors, Matthew and Shae. I soon discovered my luck was even better as they'd only opened five days earlier after working for three months to get the place up and running. The inspiration for the cafe just came from pulling all of their ideas together. Shae is also a florist and so there are lovely cut flowers available (hence the pollen in the title). The young couple plan to expand this part of the business in time too.
Lots of the decor has been salvaged - the tables are old doors that Matthew has sanded back, the ornaments are recycled, and the stalls are wooden with little ropes tied around the cushions. Everything comes together wonderfully. The space is cosy, friendly and unique. 50s style swing music played, including In the Mood - such a classic and one that I can't resist bopping along to.
I got a boring old English Breakfast pot of tea, all pots are $6 and they come with instructions. Each infusion is for a different purpose whether it be aroma or flavour. Tea drinking is a serious business here. First let it steep for a few minutes. Then you pour and take the lid off to let the leaves dry a little. Then you can pour in more water and repeat the process. More hot water is available for a third infusion. Shae and Matthew will probably bring this over anyway, but if they're a bit busy just ask.
The English Breakfast tea is also organic (as are many other varieties on offer), yay. I got a lemon slice to accompany it which was delicious. I could taste the real lemon flavour, not artificial flavouring, and it was a perfect mixture of sweet and bitter. It was also almost like it had a top layer of icing with a slightly different texture to the centre part of the slice and then the bottom was crunchy and a little bit coconutty.
When designing the cafe they deliberately kept things small - they didn't want somewhere large where service is faceless and there's no passion. The service isn't just friendly as Shae and Matthew go above and beyond - taking people's coats and greeting everyone who comes through the door, and asking how they are and actually listening to the response.
While I was there a number of other people came to try the new kid in town. Shae handed around some samples of Chrysanthemum and Goji Berry tea. On a side note I've always loved the word Chrysanthemum ever since the spelling bee scene in Anne of Green Gables. The tea was lovely with the flavours quite subtle.
The food is mainly light meals with a soup of the day, toast (the bread is supplied by the lovely Pigeon Hole) but don't just expect your usual jams they have lots of unusual kinds like Peach and Apricot containing white choc; pear vanilla; cherry cognac vanilla; chocolate pear; strawberry champagne; blackcurrant champagne; and rose petal and I believe they do have them for sale too. Other food options include muesli, Gluten Free muesli and treats. My lemon slice was gluten free too. Everything on the menu is vegetarian. They have a house-blend and single origin coffee, and organic hot chocolate, as well as coconut water and juice to drink, but the tea is where they really shine. There are so many different kinds available like Dragon Pearl Jasmine Supreme, Dancing Faerie, different kinds of Chai, Oriental Beauty, Organic Peppermint, Organic White Monkey - I could go on.
Each pot is delivered to your table with the water at the correct temperature for the best results in an individual tea pot (one pot per customer). The whole space is perfect to enjoy tea from the lovely decor style to the warm welcome from yours hosts. You'll leave feeling uplifted and calm. If you want a large meal or somewhere with loads of space then this isn't the place for you. If you want somewhere that offers more than the sum of its parts then give Pollen Tea Room a go.