Monday, November 17, 2008

Mini Foodventure #86: Royal/T (Culver City)

Admittedly, I entered Royal/T with a skeptical heart; on one hand, it is pretty cool to be dine in such an artsy space filled with assorted installations, paintings and sculptures and be served by cosplay-waitresses in French maid costumes. On the other hand, if that's the selling point, how good can the food be? But since I had other friends curious about checking this place out, I decided to give this place a try.
Situated roughly midway between Downtown Culver City and the Helms District, Royal/T is a pretty expansive converted space that's part gallery (featuring some Murakami works, Gothic Lolita wall murals, and a Porta-Party that... you'll just have to go to find out!) part design shop (selling a lot of Japanese and Japan-inspired items alongside sleek designer products such as urban mini concrete planters and sleek-yet-functional insulated Bodum glassware) and of course, part tea shop. While I was most interested in the last one, it was pretty cool wandering through the whole space and checking out the various collection, works and stuff for sale. And yes, I did porta-party!
Wanting to sample a little of everything, my friend and I both got the afternoon tea set. For teas, I opted for the royal matcha green latte, which was an excellent rich and nutty brew that was perfect with a spoonful of sugar. My compadré got the Tokyo breakfast, a slightly fruitier remix of the traditional English breakfast that still went well with sugar and milk. I was also very impressed with the Bodum glassware, whose air-blown design functions like a thermos, insulating the beverage and keeping it warm way longer than normal teacups!
As for the edibles, they certainly look cute ~ but failed to impress my tastebuds. The sandwiches were all variants of open-faced white-bread with mayo and cucumber topped with something (avocado slices, spicy tuna, etc.), overall I found them unremarkable and messy to eat, but my cucumber-loathing friend absolutely didn't care for them (usually she understands if there's one cucumber sandwich in her afternoon tea set, but all four?!) The warm mushroom quiche was pretty flavorful, but the sweets (mini berry tart, dense chocolate cake, taro mousse tart) again failed to leave a mark. My biggest disappointment, however, was the total utter absence of scones (and its accompanying jellies and cream) ~ totally shattered my afternoon/high tea world!

The overall 'meh'ness of the foods only confirmed my first impression, more scene than substance -- foodwise. At least there was yummy tea to wash it all down.

Nonetheless, it was a nice atmosphere, the drinks were decent, the staff was nice (and totally didn't mind posing for the above photo -- a request which I'm sure they're used to and sick of) and the rest of the menu looks reasonably priced so I wouldn't object to a return trip and maybe try a few of their other a la carte items (baked eggs, sandwiches, rice bowls), or maybe just to have a sip of delicious tea in an artsy setting after a meal elsewhere in the C.C.

What Do Others Say?:
Potatomato loved the environs and drinks too; friend said other foods there are mediocre
Best of LA enjoyed the teas as well, sandwiches were hit and miss
Caroline on Crack got the inside scoop with owner Susan Hancock
Yelpers give it 3.5 stars
FoodDiggers graded it 86/100 (higher on vibe points than anything else, obvs)

8910 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
T 310 559 6300

Royal/T on Urbanspoon


gourmetpigs said...

I went for lunch, not afternoon tea and I was also appalled by the lack of desserts/pastries.
All they had was lemon tart and chocolate banana bread :(
I had to splurge at Boule to satisfy my craving!

H. C. said...

burumun, Oooh, Boule.


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