PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
Co-owner Brian Ritchie was the bassist and founder of Violent Femmes, a band that went from coffee houses and street-corner busking in Milwaukee to platinum albums in the 1980s and 90s for originating the alternative folk-punk style. In her own former life, his partner, Varuni Kulasekara, was a respected research scientist. How they came to open a tea house/cafe in Hobart is a long and fascinating story but one for another day. Apart from their life journeys, theres a lot more to the Chado experience than just the unique selection of 80 different teas and the Japanese-inspired food, as good as they both are.
The atmosphere is serene and tranquil. The haunting notes of the Japanese shakuhacki, played by Ritchie, float through the small rooms. Your choice of teas from around the world perhaps a rare white or blossom tea or the complex earthy pu-erh cha from China are served in appropriately selected porcelain, china or cast iron pots. Macha is expertly foamed with a traditional Japanese bamboo broom whisk. A bento box is a progression from spicy pickles, through umami-rich savouriness, to a refreshing fruit and hand-made tea-based chocolate finish. Shredded kombu tops a smoky darn of salmon. At one table, a mother feeds her young daughter with chopsticks, at another a young man sips green tea from a tiny glass bowl during a quick (literal) tea-break from work. Chado has introduced the city to a completely new refined and relaxed style of dining.