Fera at Claridge’s are launching an imaginative addition to their dining experience by introducing rare Ambient Brew Teas to the drinks menu
Having noted an increasing number of guests seeking non-alcoholic beverages and being determined to offer an original alternative, the Fera team discovered that tea boasts a complexity similar to wine, with the terroir and different brewing processes creating a real variety in each brew and offering an extensive array of different flavours. The ambient brewing process is a unique addition to the fine dining restaurant and provides an alternative culinary journey for each diner.
The process of ambient brewing is carefully considered and begins with a short infusion of the leaves with hot water allowing for the leaves to open, and then gently brewing the leaves in ambient-temperature still mineral water. The length of infusion is dependent on the type of tea, balance and desired taste.
Once the most balanced flavour infusion is achieved, the brew is cooled to its temperature of adequate temperature of service, normally between 16 and 20C depending on the variety of tea. It is then poured in a wine glass for Fera’s guest to enjoy the new experience as they would a fine wine.
Inspired by a combined passion for wine pairing and the traditional tea ceremony, Raphaël Rodriguez, Restaurant Director and Wine Buyer, has worked in collaboration with Timothy d’Offay of Postcard Teas and through their shared expertise, carefully handpicked an array of ambient brews to compliment the Michelin-star food offering at Fera. Raphaël is a passionate advocate of natural and low intervention wines and was similarly enthused by the ambient brew process and with this launch, has ensured Fera’s selection is as full of character as the wine list.
Fera’s Sommeliers and Chefs also worked collaboratively to ensure the experience complements the food perfectly – what the team call ‘Westernising the Eastern tradition of tea’. Guests dining at Fera can now opt for the Sommelier to select an ambient brew to be paired with their dishes, in a similar way to matching with wine. One such example is the pairing of the torched mackerel, Mylor prawn, bergamot, apple and radish dish with a high mountain green oolong from Taiwan. The high altitude (1500m) and low temperatures slow down growth and lead to fresh yet highly concentrated flavours and textures – with the tea’s freshness working perfectly with the raw element of the fish. The concentrated aromas of ripe fruit and sweet flowers also combine beautifully with the apple and bergamot.
Another favourite pairing is the Copas chicken with sweet turnip, black trumpet and Wiltshire truffle paired with Hijiri black sun tea. This rare black tea is made from ancient trees from the Obayashi Family in Aichi, Japan. Postcard Teas roasts the tea once arrived in London, lending the tea complex tobacco and nutty flavours which complement the mushrooms and sweet turnip, whilst the tannins also grip onto the chicken’s juicy flesh.
In choosing tea leaves sourced from Postcard Teas, Raphaël wanted to work with a tea supplier that shares Simon Rogan’s ethos for sourcing ingredients that are farmed sustainably and made by skilled artisans. Similar to Rogan’s championing of the produce from his farm in Cumbria, Postcard Teas specialise in working with small-scale producers, with the average farm just five acres and the exact location labelled on each tea. This gives the leaves a strong sense of terroir and is conducive to the process of uniquely matching the brews with the creative flair in Fera’s dishes.
Fera at Claridge’s – Where and how
Address: Claridge’s, 49 Brook St, Mayfair, London W1K 4HR, UK
Phone: +44 20 7107 8888