Arteastiq by Marxx – 333A
I love booze and I love tea so when a place offers both, I’m quite naturally interested. Arteastiq by Marxx at Mandarin gallery is an eclectically decorated tea lounge which offers alcoholic teas on weekends if you want something more than your usual weekday cuppa. Given its location and the ambience, my $41.67 bill was a pleasant surprise.
I gravitated immediately toward the Hot Whisky Ginger Spice ($14) for those three elements more or less profile my tastes apart from chocolate. The strong brew is heady and stupor-inducing with pleasure, threatening to overwhelm the senses. Like fireworks, it offers a dazzling yet harmonious display between the oaky smoke of whisky, astringent ginger tang and perfumed spice of cinnamon; all couched in the medium of strong tea.
Tea calls for nibbles so we ordered the intriguingly-named Flying Carpet ($12.90) with an equally eyebrow-quirking description of “2 scoops of gelato with an Arteastiq Probiotic crispy prata”. Out of a pretty unusual selection, we picked Cointreau Bitter Chocolate and Champagne Vanilla. The former clearly stole the show with smooth, creamy and rich bitter chocolate accorded an elegant honeyed citrus note on the finish. The Champagne Vanilla was less balanced with the subtle vanilla flavour eclipsed by a rather raw, too-strong infusion of champagne. Well the prata was pretty much what you'd expect and was left in the shadows by the gorgeous chocolate ice cream, forgotten till we came round to mopping up the molten goo.
To round things off, we ordered an additional Adam ($8.50) which turned out to be an extremely crumbly spiced apple cake. The apple layer was clearly distinct from the cake, the two coming apart in a shower of crumbs whenever one tries to cut out a morsel. Mess aside, it was pretty good stuff!