Green tea with rock salt and cheese. Who could refuse?
Happy Lemon is the latest drinks chain to hit Australian shores, a Hong Kong company that started in 2006 and has since spread to over 100 stores across Hong Kong and China.
It's easy to get swept up in the cartoon chirpiness of the place, a dizzying entrapment of winking characters, video game-like footage on the TV screen and walls that are splashed with, well, lemon yellow.
The characters of the store have ridiculously cute names to match their happy-go-lucky smiles, names like Lemon Boy, Creamy Baby, Drinky and Ms Pudding.
There are 47 different drinks to choose from, a mixture of flavoured teas, juices and yoghurts mixed with optional toppings of coconut jelly, red beans, seaweed jelly, custard pudding and sago pearls in either small or large.
Little smiley faces on the menu promote their recommended drinks, an often eyebrow-raising combination like Italian blood orange black coffee, perilla fruit tea, cocoa matcha with brown sugar jelly and blueberry with coconut jelly.
Lemon honey with seaweed jelly $4.20 small
Lemon honey with seaweed jelly comes with two slices of fresh lemon, but the drink itself is rather sweet. Seaweed jelly balls don't taste much of seaweed, vibrant in a disconcerting shade of fluoro green.
Green tea with rock salt and cheese $4.70 large
I know exactly what I'm ordering. The green tea with rock salt and cheese is my kind of playground.
The shop assistant tells me to lift the lid off the cup and drink the cheesy foam on its own so I can appreciate its flavour. It's like slurping an aerated cheesecake, tinged with salt. The flavour profile is odd at first, but I warm to it quickly, a pleasing mix of salty, creamy and sweet.
The shop assistant is right. When I push the straw down further into the clear depths of the sweet and strong green tea, the flavour of the cheese foam is lost. The tea is refreshing, but it's more of that glorious cheese foam that this happy little lemon wants for breakfast, lunch and tea!
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225 Broadway, Glebe, Sydney
(between Little Devil Cakes and Broadway Shopping Centre, near Bay Street)
Tel: +61 (02) 9571 7717
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12/15/2010 12:43:00 am