Stepping into Leann's Tea House may not easily give you an idea that you're set to enjoy healthy Korean cuisine simply because it's owned by a Chinese family and because most tea houses that we have here really do feature Chinese foods and not Korean. "My sister married a Korean. They had their first born named Leann whose name we had chosen for this business," explains Jiselle Chua, Leann's Tea House manager. "One thing about Leann's Tea House is that we serve healthy foods so we also promise that we do not use MSG," she adds.
Leann's Tea House serves Korean cuisine in a more comfortable and casual dining. Of course, just as it is in any Korean restaurant, they have four or five appetizers to start off your meal. But what probably makes your experience different from Leann's Tea House are the brewed teas that makes your meal a bit more interesting. Before we started eating, we were served with Barley tea (one can choose if you want it hot or cold). I'm no fan of Barley but I am fully aware of its nutritional benefits plus when your skin is perpetually moist from the unbearable heat with sweat rolling down your forehead, a small cup of cold Barley would be something to keep you cool. It's also interesting to mention that they also serve awesome smoothies, shakes and a wide range of soju mixes to quench your thirsts.
But if there's one dish that's definitely worth your trip to Leann's Tea House, it's gotta be their Tonkatsu Kimbap (rice roll wrapped in breaded pork). At Php250, it has a huge serving so it's good for sharing. Each crisp roll of deep fried tonkatsu stuffed with rice are like bite-sized morsels coated in tangy sauce. Perfect for those looking for a little signature richness, the full flavors of breaded pork with rice but not wanting that heavy feeling. It's a new way to serve tonkatsu (breaded pork) and certainly, everyone gives a nod that this is an interesting dish on Leann's Tea House menu.
Bibimbap is a staple Korean favorite. Rice topped with fresh eggs, veggies, kimchi, meat, strips of nori and gochujang paste. I am huge fan of bibimbap and this one is really good. A word of advice though, once served mixed it right away with gochujang paste so as not to create 'overcooked rice' underneath or what we Filipinos love to call "tutong".
Leann's Tea House also offers Shabu-shabu at Php420. The best part? You can have an option to try both the spicy based soup and the non-spicy at the same time. Both soup broths are different. I've tried both soups and I'd have to say that the spicy one had hints of tamarind and some tangy sweetness on its spicy broth. The non-spicy one had a rich and somewhat creamy broth reminiscent of Filipino soup dish "Nilaga", but with some distinct flavors of course.
While at Leann's Tea House, do not miss to order their Galbi (barbecued beef short ribs). You can either cook them yourself or ask a staff to help cook them for you. It's a bit pricey at Php420 but it's worth it considering you get really high quality tender and juicy beef which you could eat it as it is or you could order for a Samgyeopsal (thinly sliced pork rolled on lettuce with some sambal sauce).
Leann's Tea House is located at 105-R New World Town Homes, Mother Ignacia Street, Quezon City (a few blocks away from The Crossings and National Book Store Quezon Avenue)
Special thanks to Ms. Jiselle Chua of Leann's Tea House, Ms. Lanie Lyutz and members of the Mommy Bloggers Philippines.