Tea is a part of my everyday life. Ever since I cured my coffee addiction, tea has been my everything – and while that may not sound like much of an improvement to some people, well, in my case… it kinda is. Even before the major shift to tea happened, I’ve been drinking it in lattes and during afternoon tea (and sometimes even high tea) as this a part of British culture that always had a special place in my girly-girl heart.
There’s just something about sitting with some of your best girls, talking about topics that range from politics to makeup while you sip on something that relaxes you as you treat yourself to a couple of sweets and sandwiches. Not to mention my love for fancy table settings, cutlery, and plates that actually play a big role in my ever so often afternoon tea excursions with friends.
Recently, my friend (and actually one of my fave afternoon tea buddies) Tammy brought me to Newens Teahouse in Starhill Gallery for a new menu item preview and we ended up seeing some of our other friends there – ShopGirl and Kelly. ❤️
Fancy tea places are kind of a fun splurge every-now-and-then for me and our last afternoon tea date at the Ritz-Carlton Lobby Lounge, left us thinking where we should go next.
Newens is the home of the original Maids of Honour tart. Its recipe dates back to the time of King Henry VIII and coincidentally, one of my favourite ladies in British history – Anne Boleyn. After the tussle with Catherine of Aragon that was followed by the creation of the Church of England, Anne married the King. She eventually had maids of honour (ladies in waiting) following her around and entertaining her in the ladies’ private chambers. One of these ladies created a tart so exquisitely delicious that Anne got the King to try it.
When the King tasted how good it was, he just knew that he couldn’t share it with others and he decided to have the lady imprisoned and only let out to bake for the Royal Court. Such a Henry VIII move if you ask me. *rolls eyes*
After the lady died, everyone thought that the recipe was forever lost but it resurfaced 200 years later when a palace cook leaked the recipe to a baker named John Billet. In 1850, one of Billet’s apprentices – John Newens – opened his own bakery and used the recipe.
Almost two centuries later, Newens Teahouse is still making the tarts based on that same recipe down to the T. And it has been loved by generations of British people from Winston Churchill to Queen Elizabeth II.
The recipe made its way out of the United Kingdom for the first time last year and landed in Kuala Lumpur – inside Starhill Gallery to be exact.
Sandwiched between Dior and Louis Vuitton, it’s hard to miss Newens. With its posh yet inviting couches and the sweet smell of tea and pastries wafting through the halls of the luxury mall. It can be quite intimidating to some but I find the servers are quite nice and welcoming.
It’s not the most private of spaces and people who enjoy a bit of seclusion might find it disconcerting to be seated in the middle of one of the mall’s main passageways with people passing by all the time. I’m one of those people, to be honest. I have a hard time eating when passersby might see me opening my mouth and putting food in. However, it is always easy to ask one of the servers to place you in one of the couches in the middle area which is facing other lofty couches so you are hidden from view. There’s always a work-around in any situation. 😉
Let’s now get to the stars of this post – the food and the tea! From the 20th till the 28th of November, Newens Teahouse will be offering a limited edition high tea set to coincide with the ninth edition of A Journey Through Time – Starhill Gallery’s yearly watch and jewellery showcase which will feature 125 international brands.
During the preview, we were served Newens’ signature green tea with mango and citrus. It’s a special blend for this branch and they call it the Starhill Jewel tea. ❤️ It is divine. It is smooth, fragrant, and flavourful without being too strong.
The three-tiered spread gave us some serious eye candy that night. The food on it – especially the top layer – are just too pretty to eat! Let’s get into the layers, shall we?
First, you get assorted open-faced mini sandwiches. Some have salmon while some have tuna. The tomatoes are fresh and are packing a bit of a crunch which is always a plus for me. I love me some good tomatoes. They do wonders for the skin! Both the salmon and the tuna are also fresh and tasty.
On the second layer, you get one spinach quiche and one chicken puff pastry. Tammy and I shared these. At first I felt like eating just half of the quiche and the puff pastry would leave your taste buds hanging but it turns out that half of each is just enough to cleanse your palate after each Maids of Honour tart. I do love biting into something savoury after having something sweet – and vice versa.
Ah, the Maids of Honour tarts. It’s heaven in a pastry, I must say. The curd cheese in the middle is light and creamy that it literally melts in your mouth. The pastry surrounding it crumbles nicely in every bite. I can sing songs about this for days. I even bought a couple of tarts to take home for the husband – who consumed them in under 5 minutes.
There’s just so much love for these tarts, no? 😉 Now we move to the top layer:
On this layer, you’ll get strawberries dipped in adorable, chocolate tuxedos, a couture handbag cake, a designer shoe cookie, and English trifle.
All are delectable desserts but I gotta say that my favourites have got to be the strawberries which are a good mix of sweet and tarty flavours and the couture handbag cake which is all-chocolate on the inside but not too overwhelming. To be honest, I couldn’t eat much from this tier anymore I was already full!
This High Tea set is available from the 20th to the 28th of November and will cost you and a friend RM160 nett. A bit steep, yes. But that’s RM80 per person for high quality tea and desserts. You’re also paying for a bit of history and tradition through the Maids of Honour tart. Which are so yummy, I just want to go “Shut Up and Take My Money” on the servers. I’m seriously having cravings for them to this day.
If you want to bring home Maids of Honour Tarts, they cost RM12 a pop and can be easily heated in your home oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 3-5 minutes. Do not microwave. 😉
P.S. Newens’ Irish Whiskey Cream Tea is to die for. 😉
*Review was made upon invitation of the establishment