At Lü Cha Kitchen and Bar, ancient tradition blends with bold innovation to create a unique eating and drinking experience in the heart of Brisbane.
The tradition comes from the mountains of Sichuan province in south-western China, the birthplace of tea. Here, on a small, family-owned tea farm, a farmer picks new leaves at the beginning of spring each year, just as her ancestors have done for hundreds of years. Today, some of these leaves make a more modern journey. The farmer, an old family friend of Suellen Lei and her husband Steven Zhang, owners of Lü Cha Kitchen and Bar, first dries and tosses them to make high quality green tea which she then blends with fragrant jasmine flowers to produce a distinctive, aromatic jasmine tea. The tea is made especially for Lü Cha in Brisbane.
Which is where the innovation takes place, as the tea is transformed and adapted in several ways by Suellen and Steven. Firstly it is a foundation for a uniquely Chinese-Australian cuisine. Lü Cha Kitchen and Bar’s signature dishes are marinated or cooked in tea or paired with tea-based sauces to create treats such as Braised Pork Belly with Puer Tea and Buns, Wok Fried Beef with Oyster and Tea Sauce, and Stewed Tofu with Jasmine Tea.
Alongside a carefully chosen selection of wines, beers and spirits, the Lü Cha Kitchen and Bar also offers a range of tea cocktails, using not only jasmine tea from Sichuan province, but also semi-fermented oolong tea and black tea, both imported from Fujian province, another traditional tea-growing region in south-eastern China. The results are heady concoctions such as Goodbye Lychee (containing rum, oolong tea, lychee syrup, sugar syrup, lemon juice and lychee liqueur) and Tipsy Peachy (gin, jasmine tea, fresh peach, peach liqueur, soda, lemon juice).
As if that were not enough, tea is also used as a base for more than fifty varieties of Bubble Tea – the newest trend in tea consumption, which has become a global favourite, especially among young people, since its creation in Taiwan in the 1980s. At Lü Cha you can choose from a range of fruit teas such as Peach Jasmine Tea, fruity cream teas Fruity Cream Watermelon or, for true Bubble Tea aficionados, Taro and Milk Cream Bobo Cha. You can also choose to sit down and drink your bubble tea or purchase ‘to go’ from a bar that opens onto the street.
All of this is brought to you in a relaxing, smart casual ambience, designed in the words of Suellen as a friendly spot to meet, eat and drink.