Ten Ren Teahouse, Haymarket

Newsflash. If you operate a place that sells bubble tea, please do not run out of pearls.

This is something that Ten Ren apparently does quite often. On this occasion, and when I went back a few days later, the same thing! My friend informed me that it has happened to them as well.

Which is such a shame because their pearls are delicious. They're not like the tasteless giant balls that you get at Ezy Way. Instead, they are smaller, softer, chewy and have a sweet flavour to them.

Anyway, this is the story of my first visit to eat in at Ten Ren.

The teahouse exterior on George St

You can get takeaway bubble tea from here, and that is what I have previously done.

However, on this particular afternoon, my friend and I felt like seeing what the teahouse was like.

Rows of tea for sale

To get to the dine-in area, you walk into the narrow store and climb up a steep set of stairs.

Stairs inside

Once you reach the top, you are rewarded with a bright, clean teahouse - and even though it is a Taiwanese teahouse, it reminds me of some teahouses in Tokyo.

There are artworks on the wall and plenty of seating. It caters for both small and large groups.

A table for a large group

We sat near the window and I felt like I was in an oasis from the hustle and bustle that goes on at this end of George St.

The view from the window

A waitress came over and handed us menus.

And this is where the trouble started.

The menu

Another menu card that came with the menu

Their menu is damn confusing!!! The first few pages are drinks - but not sorted in a very good order. There is food - but it's all disorganised. We spent about ten minutes just reading the menu, trying to get a sense of what was available :\

So I finally decided on an 'afternoon tea set' which was basically a dish, and then there were four basic drinks that you could pick from as an accompaniment, listed as 'complimentary drink'. Unfortunately, the waitress informed me that I had to pay the normal price for the drink. I didn't understand!

That idea was ditched and instead, we both ordered a drink and one dish to share.

After ordering, a waitress came over with the bill receipt. We had a quick look and they had charged us for two dishes when we had only wanted one. So we asked them to correct the order.

When the dish came out - it wasn't the dish that we ordered!! And it wasn't either of the ones on the original bill receipt either?? Weird. So we told them and waited longer for our chosen dish to come out.

Sigh. By now we had been sitting there for about 25 minutes. Food less.

Paper Placemats

This is the food that we ordered:

Regular Jasmine Green Milk Tea ($4.50)

Lots of bubbles on top

My friend ordered a lavendar milk tea - large. It was HUGE!

Size comparison

Lavendar milk tea (Large - $6.50)

There was a lot of ice in it

The milk teas were nice - but would have tasted better with pearls!

The surprise of the visit was the dish that we ordered.

Scallop roll with noodles ($8.80)

I was expecting soup noodles - but they weren't! They were in a light sesame oil dressing but were still warm. They were actually really yummy! The scallop rolls....well, I couldn't taste any scallop at all. They reminded me of some prawn rolls that you might get at yumcha, or some fish tofu. But I liked them as well!

I really like the venue but this 'pearls has sold out' business has to stop. So far, it has happened to me twice. If I go back a third time and the same thing happens - I am taking my bubble tea business elsewhere!

Ten Ren's Cha For Tea on Urbanspoon


We have been writing about food in Sydney since 2009. No place is too far or too wide for us to travel to visit. We always give an honest opinion and love to hear your comments too. Here's to an ever-growing society of foodies!

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