Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Cha Fahn - A Dining Oasis in Jamaica Plain

One step off busy Centre Street in Jamaica Plain into tranquil Cha Fahn and you immediately begin to feel your shoulders relax, your mind stop racing and your cares fade away. Cha Fahn is a lovely tea house. The design combines both traditional furnishings with modern accents and artwork. They have the most amazing chairs I have ever seen or sat in. The backs of these chairs must be seven feet tall (see photo below). You'll find countless teas from China, Japan and England. Hot and iced. Black, white, green and herbal. And some amazing bubble tea flavors - taro root anyone? In addition to the wonderful teas, Cha Fahn offers fine food with complex layered flavors, artfully presented.

The tea menu was so immense I started to glaze over. Luckily my sister had been there twice before and helped me focus. While she and my other sister opted for the hot anti-oxidant packed Rooibos Green Tea, I was intrigued by the Taro Pearl Green Tea, an absolutely delicious cold bubble tea. The tapioca in the bottom were Taiwanese black pearls (tapioca made with yams). Sound weird? It's not - at all. So good.

The lunch menu had so many options we were interested in, including many items that featured tea as an ingredient. So in true Lynne style, we ordered a bit of everything starting with Lapsang Souchong Black Bean Soup. Frankly, I would have been happy if that's all we had. Perfectly seasoned, surprisingly light and a little lemony.

Next, Pork & Shrimp Su Mei arrived at the table. Very homemade tasting and nicely garnished with a pea on top of each serving. Many Tea Sandwiches are on the menu and can be purchased in sampler sizes of 3 ($9), 4 ($12) or 5 ($15). You actually get two of each so if you plan on ordering other things, the order of 3 will be enough. Each sandwich is served open-faced on a French baguette slice which enables you to see all the pretty, colorful ingredients. We ordered the way-above-average Egg Salad with Red Onion; Shrimp with Cucumber and Curry Spread; and Goat Cheese with Apricot Preserves, Ginger and Mint. I think I liked the latter the best because the flavor combination was such a pleasant surprise. I immediately thought I should serve something like this at my next cocktail party. What a great array of flavors.
What I consider to be the piece de resistance arrived next. Pan-roasted Beef and Noodles in a Broth of Soy Citrus, Chinese Herbs and Pu-erh Tea (pictured at the top of the page). The beef was clearly slow-cooked and just fell apart. Amazing. Unlike other beef stews, this soup was light and left you feeling pleasantly full not overstuffed.

My sister insisted we leave room for dessert. We all know there's always room for that. We sampled (who am I kidding, ate) Ginger Spice Tea Cake and a special, a Berry Almond Tart. The Ginger cake was the winner hands down. There are chunks of spicy candied ginger in almost every bite. If you love ginger, you must try this cake.

I can't think of a better place to go to decompress, dine and catch up with friends and family. Next time you need to chill out, head out to Cha Fahn. Make it a long lunch or leisurely dinner. You deserve it.

Cha Fahn, 763 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, MA, 617.983.3575
Lunch & Afternoon Tea: Tuesday - Sunday starting at 11:30am
Dinner: Tuesday - Sunday starting at 5pm


Blogger Carol said...

I so love this place! It's instant chill with an atmosphere and menu that pampers, comforts and fills a sensory and aesthetic need all at the same time. True to its name, Cha Fahn is all about "finding serenity in chaos." When you live in the city, that's a 'must have'! More please!

1:24 AM  
Anonymous Donna said...

What an amazing place - quiet and comfortable, subtle fragrances of tea and soup in the air, calm and courteous service that in no way rushed you. This was such a nice experience with my sisters - hope to do it again soon.

9:43 AM  
Blogger mini-me said...

hey there. cha fahn seems to be a favorite place for boston bloggers. we had the goat cheese/apricot sandwich too and loved it! we actually did try recreating them with the baguette we got at clear flour. :)

ps. thanks for your fish market tips! would you mind also posting them to chompster?

11:25 PM  
Anonymous Rhea said...

I live right around the corner from Cha Fahn, and I love it, too.

Only thing is, I find the dramatic-looking chairs uncomfortable.

10:38 AM  

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