Matahari CottagE

Bed & Breakfast

Victorian Afternoon Tea

 

Heading north, away from the sultry hot Kuta area, as we approach the mountain village of Ubud, the temperature becomes amiable and cool air blows through our car windows. Heading eastward from Ubud Palace, in about two minutes we will enter the alley of Jl. Jembawan to Matahari Cottage Bed & Breakfast. Butler Wayen comes to greet us by the floral gate,  dressed in his full Balinese outfit of a single breasted long sleeve cream shirt and a date color sarong decorated with grape leave motifs in golden-thread, and covered by a sapu (a Balinese outer-skirt-like dressing only for men) in pastel green with colorful dragonfly patterns scattered over its satin surface. The outfit is resplendent, formal, and elegant, but it also has the charm of South Asian tribal festivities. A luxurious tea party is about to unfold.

Guided by Wayan, we enter the garden of tropical flower and green grass  carpet. In the middle of the garden is a Chinese-style pavilion from which light gleams, reflected from the silver on the table. After we are seated, the chief maid Ayu, holding a Moroccan silver pot with a long bird-beak-like mouth, pours water fragranced with rose aroma oil to wash our hands, while Wayan holds a crystal basin to catch the overflow. Ayu also brings each of us a finely ironed linen napkin for drying our hands.

After this prelude, Wayan offers drinks to each guest. A long silver with its four legs sits at the end of the long table which is covered with a white Irish linen tablecloth. Two silver pots, one large and one smaller, stand on the tray. Tea from the high mountain of the island of Java fills the big pot. The smaller Chinese-like teapot is latched to its seat. By disengaging the back latch, Wayan elegantly pours hot water from the pot to make strong tea, 70% tea and 30% water, and weak tea, 50% of each. A silver oil burner keeps the water hot, and a silver tea strainer is ready to filter tealeaves. To complete the tea service, a small silver tray of lemon slices garnished with whole cloves is provided to enhance the flavor of the tea; silver sugar tongs accompany a silver bowl of sugar cubes decorated with sugar Jepun flowers; and another silver bowl is used for dregs of tea or hot water for washing teacups when changing drinks. 

Another long silver tray displays a glass pot with a silver handle and bottleneck decoration, its lid covered by cloud shaped carvings like a small Buddha. The pot, which sits on a glass candle burner, is filled with thick, aromatic hot chocolate. A glass pitcher of rose syrup also adds to the flavor of the chocolate. Next to the glass pot is a Baroque silver compote filled with homemade marshmallows. A silver round tray holds a crystal pitcher filled with ice-cold lemonade embellished with mint leaves and lemon slices. A crystal bowl filled with cantaloupe and watermelon balls has also been prepared to make the lemonade more festive. Different teacups of more than 50-year-old antique porcelain made by English companies such as Royal Albert, Rosina, and Shelly are displayed on the table for our tea-drinking delight.

After taking drink orders, Wayan brings various tea treats one by one, including scones in a crystal jar accompanied by silver cups of whipping cream and raspberry jam on a silver tray; lime tarts, short bread, lace cookies, and cinnamon toasts in a three-tier silver rack; two kinds of finger sandwiches changed daily include cucumber, chicken pâté, tomato, potato and salmon are in another silver tray, etc.; and the cake of the day, also made daily in varieties such as American Apple Pie, Banana Rum Cake, Swan Puffs, Citron Cheese Cake, Vacherin, Della Robia, and Rumbabas is presented on individual eighty-year-old Nippon antique porcelain plates. In addition, Turkish Delights (a special middle eastern sweet made mainly by gelatin) of mint leaves and rose water pistachio sprinkled with icing sugar are served. All of these things add to the ambiance of luxurious elegance of this elaborate Victorian afternoon tea

Tea time in Matahari Cottage Bed & Breakfast is free to in-room guests because the inn master likes to have tea and to share his experiences of living in Ubud with guests; outside guests pay a modest charge of Rp.55,000 (including tax) per person to cover the food costs and are expected to book the tea one day in advance because all the tea treats are made fresh daily.

We cordially invite you to attend our tea parties.

 

 

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