Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tea takes a while at Basho Cafe

Basho Cafe on Urbanspoon Next time I go to a Japanese restaurant, I'll have to remember to ask the staff what the name means. "Basho" can apparently mean different things depending on the kanji. Although "location" is a good guess, it may refer to the haiku poet Matsuo Bashō.

Anyway, I finally got down to Basho Cafe to have a peek. For a smallish place, it's really nice that they didn't try to cram the floor with as much seating as possible. Instead, there's a respectable amount of legroom and privacy between the tables (though for roominess in cafes, Lost + Found still can't be beat).

I ducked in late afternoon for a meeting, so I just got a peppermint tea and a mini-muffin.

Kabocha Muffin ($1)
  • I was sort of hoping that they'd mispelled kombucha, but no, it was kabocha--Japanese pumpkin.
  • $1 for a ping-pong ball sized muffin that'd been sitting in the counter for god-knows-how-long since it was around 2.30 pm. Why did I buy it? No idea.
  • Well whaddya know? Didn't feel like it was out too long. Moist, with even moister places where there'd probably been a lil' chunk o' pumpkin. Flavourful. Not oily/buttery/fatty. This was actually a really decent muffin.
  • Also worth a plus: When I tore it in half with my fingers, it didn't leave any crumbly mess. Nice!
  • If you put three together they'd add up to a largish muffin, but if the quality were all good, the price would have been maybe only a tad above average, so pound for price is actually also decent.
Looseleaf Tea (for stay; $2.85)
  • $2.85 for tea? Really? Yeah, I bought this anyway maybe more out of curiosity.
  • It took a while to get to me -- long enough that I went to the counter to gently inquire what was going on. I didn't want to start my mini-muffin before my tea. Turns out they were prepping it in a little teapot--complete with a tea cozy!
    • Hell, only *some* afternoon tea places have tea cozies. I really wasn't expecting this from a cafe in a slightly sketchy looking part of town. Nice!
    • They also apparently held/prepped the tea until it was ready to drink. They didn't just throw the leaves into a pot, top it up with hot water, and serve it to you. That's why it took longer than tea at Starbucks.
  • So $2.85 actually gets you a POT of tea--not just one mug--so keep that in mind. And they didn't do the cheesy thing and charge me extra when I asked for an extra cup to share my tea. Bonus points!
Service feels warm and pleasant. Like some kindly neighbour old enough to remember old school courtesy, combined a sense of conscientiousness in what they do that results in a quality-controlled product. You can't necessarily get that nowadays at just any Japanese restaurant, though if the owners and floor staff are imported from Japan, you just might.

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