Every time I go to Zen Cha Tea Salon, I am reminded that I know absolutely nothing about tea. From the vast supply of intricate servingware to the eight-paneled tea menu, I’m just baffled.
The food, though, the food I can handle. Their brunch menu is based on cuisine from tea-drinking cultures, otherwise known as any culture but ours. Tea was more popular (and available) in every country I’ve been to, with the exception of Spain and maybe Canada. But in England, Scotland, Tanzania and Cambodia, it was the drink of choice. As far as the third would countries go, it makes sense. You do not need fancy machinery or consistent electricity to make tea. (Tea was not an issue for the folks at Cup O Joe during the power outage days of Hurricane Ike this past summer. Lattes? Different story.)
I feel like when you look closely, there’s a story about tea that will teach you about economics, trade, the environment and even religion. That’s a story for another day.
Back to Zen Cha Tea Salon. This place has a magical brunch menu, with each pancake or waffle coming out plated as a work of art. My first experience was a culinary shock; I remember texting Maya a picture of my plate along with the words, “I had prosciutto for breakfast!” Yes, there’s a waffle plate there topped with prosciutto, Parmesan and arugula. Wow.
This past Sunday, I opted for the Masala Waffles. Paired with caramelized bananas and whipped cream, the spices in the batter with the sweetness of the fruit came together quite nicely. All it was missing, I felt, was a side of sausage. (There’s an incredible lack of greasy food at Zen Cha Tea Salon.)
Baseball Boy got his usual: a pile of pancakes topped with a fruity syrup and slices of beautiful exotic fruits. (I must admit that many times, I rely on the websites of restaurants to come up with the proper names of entrees. It appears that Zen Cha’s site is under construction. So.)
The best part of Zen Cha, I think, is that it’s never too crowded to find a table, but it’s always pleasantly buzzing. That, and when I walk inside, I feel like – just for one meal – I’m stepping into another culture. It’s a lot cheaper than an airline ticket.
Zen Cha Tea Salon
982 North High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43201