On Eating After Long Walks: Raintree Teapresso Blends, Katipunan Avenue
Updated: Sep 28, 2022
(AUTHOR'S NOTE: I visited this restaurant in January 2014, and published the review a month after. This restaurant has long been defunct.)
I take long walks whenever I feel stressed out or I just want to do so, as it serves a two-fold purpose: I get my necessary exercise and I discover food places worth trying out. I actually discovered Raintree Teapresso Blends near the corner of Katipunan and Boni Serrano avenues during one such long walk, but it was only after I finished an engagement early that I finally paid a visit to the establishment. By walking, of course.
I felt the cozy ambiance of Raintree as soon as I entered. Most of the seats were soft couches, with only four stools positioned near the entrance. There weren't much customers during my visit that I could hear the radio station they were tuned in - a local one that plays smooth jazz. If you have a vehicle, parking isn't a problem as the facade has ample space for four; the guard on duty will even help you out. The interior arrangement really invites you to stop and stay for a while: jars of loose-leaf tea and tea implements such as tea pots and cups neatly stacked on the side of the counter, with a wide painting of a tea plantation above the display.
Raintree Teapresso Blends offers an ample selection of hot and cold drinks, cakes and pastries, shakes, and confectionery -- even rice meals, too! The accommodating staff suggested some favorites from their milk tea selections, but the chilly weather made me prefer a hot drink. I ordered a warm cup of the Irish Early Grey Tea, the restaurant's take on the traditional Earl Grey with bergamot orange peels. The tea bag was larger, which meant that it contained more leaves - and consequently a more full-flavored cup. It reminded me of Twinings Earl Grey, which I usually pair with sugar and milk (to no avail, as they did not have these for hot teas.) Their drinks came with a free macaron, so I ordered the Mint Chocolate Macaron to pair with the tea (I shall elaborate on the dessert later.)
I ordered the Beef Salpicao for a late lunch, part of the assortment of savory fare this joint offers. My lunch was served and, while the large bowl appealed to me visually, it was not the salpicao I knew of. This version uses beef strips topped with green chili slices and chopped garlic, a different take from the ones that use beef cubes. Incidentally, Raintree's owner is also a distributor of Pampanga's Best meat products - so the meat was already in stock. This beef salpicao tasted rather average but I finished it despite that low point. I think this dish has a lot of room for improvement!
The hot tea from earlier came with a free macaron, which I really liked - that I ordered a box of six! Raintree's macarons were priced a bit higher than The French Baker's, but were the same size as the ones from TWG Tea. The Mint Chocolate Macarons tasted similar to Better Than Ice Cream's mint chocolate and chips frozen dessert, with the mint cutting the chocolate's sweetness. Perfect for a palate cleanser! A fair warning, though: some people get turned off by mint chocolate, comparing it to toothpaste!
I also got the Lychee Milk Tea to help wash down the macarons. It had the right amount of sweetness balanced out with the lychee's acidic notes. Real lychees may have been used for this drink, and kudos to them if they did. The pearls had the right texture, not too tough and not too delicate. This would have been a personal favorite of mine, if Raintree didn't close down for good. Unfortunately, by the time I returned to its former spot in 2017 - a different restaurant already took its place.
Until the next review, bon appetit.