At the top of Queen Anne Hill lies Seattle’s connection to South Africa — Cederberg Tea House.
One could not miss its location with proud South African flag flying just outside of the cafe.
A cozy, lay back cafe in dark wood, the place sits a little under 30 people, offering breakfast, lunch and drinks.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by the friendliest folks.
Plenty pastries, sweet and savory adorned the display case with a big list of espresso drinks; most importantly rooibos drinks.
Rooibos tea, or red bush tea, has become very popular as a caffeine-free tea option in the past years in the U.S., yet it has been a staple for South African for a long time.
Most roobois tea grow in a mountainous region called Cederberg, and it is from a plant in the legume family.
At Cederberg Tea House, rooibos tea are prepared espresso style called red espresso.
Finely ground rooibos tea works similar to ground espresso beans, and shots of concentrated rooibos are pulled to make drinks such as red latte, red espresso, Chai and Fresh Red: shots of rooibos with apple juice.
We promptly ordered a Fresh Red, and a Red Latte for lunch.
I came to Cederberg for their bunny chow — I wanted to try a potentially more authentic version then the one at Nue.
Turns out, Bunny Chow need not be made of rabbit stew (as the version in Nue).
It basically means any curry serves in a dug out piece of bread.
The origin of the name was a mystery, and its creation unclear with many different stories; no doubt that it had its influence from Indian.
Some cited the dish was developed during the 40s when Indian immigrants sugar plant workers had to find a means for portable food for work; others believe that it was created during the apartheid period as take out for blacks since they could not enter restaurants.
Regardless of its origin, Bunny Chow is one of the famous dishes representing South Africa today.
Back to Seattle, Cederberg’s Bunny Chow for the day was chicken coconut curry: delicious, very spicy with generous amount of meat and soft potatoes.
The bread was plain white bread, as called for traditionally, and untoasted (unlike Nue’s).
My accompanying Fresh Red had warm tasty apple cider like spiciness, with a much deeper and tannin-like character as aftertaste — I thoroughly enjoyed it!
DH had the South African meat pie: Cornish Pasty.
A folded dough with smooth potatoes, beef, cabbage filling, paired with a oniony gravy, really wonderful.
His Red Latte was light and foamy sprinkled with cinnamon on top, flavors seemed a little gingery and it was certainly a comforting drink.
I drink a lot of rooibos tea mostly in tea bag forms; the extraction process of rooibos as a shot changed the characteristic of the rooibos tea quite a bit from tea bags: it became less vanillaey with much deeper earthier woody tone.
Our drinks came with a small piece of decadent short bread as well, super buttery and reminded me of Royal Dansk butter cookies that I used to have growing up in Hong Kong.
We were so full but my eyes were still on their Malva Pudding; so we bought a piece home (along with a bag of red espresso so I can make them at home).
Followed the recommendation from Cederberg, I microwaved the pudding for a couple minutes, and found myself savoring this spongy warm cake with caramelly cream sauce oozing out of every holes of the sponge cake, much like sweetened condensed milk — such guilty sugary and fatty pleasure!
A wonderful cozy, friendly place with excellent and unique handcrafted food, I will most certainly return to Cederberg when I am in the area!
It is also a fantastic party place since they throw tea parties!