Any restaurant that manages to combine two of my favourite things in just their name is bound to have me chomping at the bit to get in there and try it out. Vegetarian and tea. For a pseudo veggo and tea lover like me, I just can’t walk past it.
I first heard about Thea when on the hunt for somewhere ‘new’ to try in Adelaide. I love that google filters the search function by location, because this little gem popped up about 200 metres from my office. Perfect.
I’m not usually shy about trying new restaurants, as long as I can find some sort of review for them online. I don’t even usually care what the review says, as long as I know others have dined there before me. So with a quick scan of some Urbanspoon and Five Thousand reviews, I left my warm office to hunt down the favourably pitted ‘tea garden’. A garden it is not, rather a modern bistro in the heart of the Adelaide CBD. Thea is spacious with two dining areas, up and downstairs. One feature I particular love is that the menus double as an order form. While not very environmentally friendly, it's a great way to prevent mix ups, especially with the language barrier that sometimes occurs with Asian owned and run restaurants. The menu items can be a little intimidating, with descriptions like ‘Sweet & sour thing’ and ‘BBQ gluten’. Nonetheless, if you can get past the ambiguous descriptions, what you’re left with is a simple but fulfilling meal.With eight regular main meals, as well as daily specials, snacks and desserts, there is plenty of variety for customers to eat here as regularly as every day of the week. Now, I know many sceptics expect that vegetarian meals will leave them with a grumbling tummy, but that’s not the case at Thea. The portion sizes are big, especially considering the main meals are all an average of $10 a pop! I love the Asian flavours but the big win for me is the seasonal steamed vegetables. The veggies taste fresh and crisp, and still have that raw crunch. I’m all for raw goodness! Truthfully, I can’t rave about the meals, the service or the prices enough. But what about the tea you ask? The majority of the teas can be served either cold or hot, with some only available cold. In some cases it’s best to stick with the cold version, as most of the flavoured tea is of the ‘iced tea’ constitution. Regular black tea is also available. Again, the portions are big. Regular sizes range from about $3 - $4.70 and I can’t usually finish a regular because the cups are so big!While Thea might not suit every palate, for a vegetarian or vegan I highly recommend giving it a go. I’d be surprised if anyone could be disappointed walking out of this place. I’m not quite sure where they’ve pulled the ‘garden’ title from, but garden or not, Thea gets a big tick from this ‘foodie’.