Keep your eyes peeled for a tiny green sign above an even tinier alleyway squeezed between an ice cream shop and a tourist store on Hoan Kiem Lake. Rewind Teahouse combines the grandeur of a stately English country house and the cosiness of a lakeside café.
You’ll be glad you made it down a doubtful alleyway and up three flights of stairs — if not for the beautiful decor then for the promise of Cornish clotted cream and fresh scones. It’s a welcoming area with an old-fashioned feel, packed with white-washed furniture and large couches. The British flag also makes an appearance.
The deck overlooking the lake is reminiscent of an English garden party, packed with hanging plants, flowers and watercolour hues. A short introductory paragraph in the menu invites you to forget the world, a promise fulfilled as the deck is in the tree canopies surrounding the lake, far removed from traffic below.
Location is one of the things that co-owner and co-founder Cuong Lai believes sets the café apart from other places in Hanoi. The café has been running for four months and Cuong couldn’t be prouder.
“Rewind Teahouse began with three friends who have a passion for tea,” he says. “One of the co-founders studied in England for seven years. She developed a passion for tea and brought it back with her.”
All of their teas are imported from France and England, and their cakes are made by a chef who used to work at a five-star hotel in Hanoi. Their most popular options are the all-day mini tea set, ideal for two people to share, which will set you back VND190,000, and the all-day full tea set which caters to larger groups and hungrier patrons starting at VND350,000 depending on the tea you choose to go with it.
Customers can choose from perhaps the widest selection of teas available in Hanoi. If you see yourself as a tea connoisseur, you can go with premium, their most expensive selection of teas. If you’re looking for something a little stronger, Rewind Teahouse also offers tea-inspired cocktails.
The Earl Grey martini looks appealing but I settle for the mini tea set with a classic Earl Grey tea and some scones, and I’m more than happy with my choice. The tea set comes on a traditional stand and I’m impressed with the selection. What’s a tea party without cucumber sandwiches, macaroons, éclairs, and tiny glasses of panna cotta? The scones are also excellent and the fresh raspberry jam is an extra touch.
Rewind Teahouse is definitely a treat-yourself-Friday kind of excursion. It’s ideal for tea-loving couples and groups of friends, or if you just need a quiet place to work on a comfy couch.
Rewind Teahouse is at 11B Hang Khay, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi and is open from 9am to 11pm
Photos by Teigue John Blokpoel