I wasn’t a fan of oatmeal until I tried overnight oats from Trimeats purchased at the food bazaar. Announcing their first anniversary on Instagram, they collaborated with Lewis & Carroll Artisanal Tea to launch a Pop-Up Brunch event last year in October at Lewis & Carroll in South Jakarta.
Trimeats is an oatmeal-based food manufacturer, producing multiple flavours of overnight oats (my favourite ones are Blueberry Cheesecake and Black Forest, among others), cray oats or healthy Indonesian fried rice, granola and healthy bread.
On the other hand, Lewis and Carroll is a tea house offering over 20 artisanal tea blends. Apart from that, the tea house also serves Indonesian, Western food, some light bites and desserts.
The collaboration ended up with three-course menus. Future guests were required to inform the chosen appetizer, main course and dessert prior to the d-day:
- Appetizer: Mango Kale Açai Bowl or Cheesy Potskinz
- Main Course: Roasted Stuff Pumpkin or Hainan Chicken Oats
- Dessert: Fudgy Cacao Brownies with Peanut Butter Nana Ice Cream or Matcha Panna Cotta
Although I was open to another possibility that fancy names and tempting descriptions (the latter will be revealed afterwards) are not always in line with great quality, I got a good feeling about the Brunch and I knew that this kind of collaboration may not come twice.
So, I didn’t think twice to book the spot (which was required to do) in advance and to pay the 25% down payment (of the Brunch value of Rp. 200.000 ($20)) each to confirm the booking. I asked my friend to accompany me to the culinary event.
A HATTER’S TEA PARTY IS THE MUSE
When I heard “Lewis & Carroll”, I instantly relate it with the author of Alice in Wonderland by eliminating the “&” symbol.
Inside the tea house’s modern, clean cut interior with a very spacious dining room, it tells me that Mad Hatter’s tea party that Alice attended is their main inspiration, shown by the presence of colours on teapots and cups arranged in rainbow colours, representing Hatter’s eccentric look and behaviour. Elaborating the unconventional character of Hatter, Lewis & Carroll displayed assorted tea leaves inside test tubes and cups to challenge guests with new experience of tasting artisanal tea blends.
As mentioned in the book’s (and the movie’s) story line, The Hatter has a tea party everyday. It’s more than just a coincidence that the tagline of Lewis & Carroll is “It’s Always Tea Time.”
Lewis & Carroll’s elevated tea time experience by serving three-course tea drinks, from appetizer, main course until dessert. It was not mentioned previously that we would get all of them in the package. Unlike the three-course meals, we couldn’t choose the tea flavours ourselves. But still, what a pleasant surprise.
The waiter passed us a teapot set for two and a test tube filled with tea leaves to give a free smell experience of the tea we were about to drink to accompany our appetizer. A significant refreshing tangerine smell with hints of spices boosted my appetite.
Being a mixed fruit juice lover, I made the right decision to have Mango Kale Açai Bowl definitely presented by Trimeats, an açai smoothie with mango, kale, bananas and black quinoa cereal, as my appetizer. The dominant taste of mango and some notes of banana for thicker smoothie texture defined its natural sweetness. The crunchy quinoa cereal was an additional sensation of the meal.
My friend chose Cheesy Potskinz, baked potato skin stuffed with cheese, broccoli topped with salmon bacon and avocado cream. It sounded very tempting, for sure, and I initially wanted that too. But I decided to choose a healthier option. Unless informed, hardly did anyone can tell that there was broccoli since it was turned into a creamy sauce on top of the potato skin and the bacon was from salmon. A notable taste of cheddar and creamy taste of avocado on the side made the meal enjoyable.
If you think oatmeal is only for breakfast and milk is its only soulmate, think again. At first, Trimeats broke that stereotype by creating cray oats, so-called healthy Indonesian fried rice, by replacing the rice with oatmeal and served in a jar. It has become a hit ever since, and they did another breakthrough with Hainan chicken oats on the Brunch.
Just like cray oats, they alternated the savoury rice with oatmeal. It was as tasty as the beloved Hainan chicken rice, except the flaky grain I chewed reminded me that I wasn’t consuming rice in that moment. The only “complaint” for the dish was that the Hainan
rice oats portion was too little and a bit unbalanced with that of the steamed chicken.
I envied my friend’s Roasted Stuffed Pumpkin and I wish the menu had pictures besides descriptions, although it doesn’t mean I regret my own choice. It was the most attractive food presentation of the day and perhaps, I’ve ever seen.
The roasted pumpkin became an edible bowl accommodating cilantro lime oats in it. The savoury oats were zesty and since I’m a fan of cilantro, I think its notable taste spiced up the oats flavour. The mild taste of roasted pumpkin created a perfect balance to neutralize the zesty flavour a bit. Another interesting fact was that the red stars on the plate were actually cranberry tomato sauce, but I didn’t manage to taste it.
Furthermore, the organizer picked my Roasted Stuffed Pumpkin picture as the winner of Best Picture of the day on Instagram food photography contest. As a reward, I received a purple teapot set whose appearance was like the previous “appetizer tea” image above.
Furthermore, the fruity taste of Iced Rooibos Tea for the main course tea drink was very refreshing! I completely forgot taking a picture of it because I was thirsty.
We finally had something in common. We both chose Fudgy Cocoa Brownies with Peanut Butter Nana Ice Cream as the dessert, especially I don’t have a fond of panna cotta. The brownies was not to sweet with a significant taste of cocoa and the crunchiness on its surface was just right. The peanut butter ice cream wasn’t Skippy-ish at all. I think the creamy and milky taste took over most of the real peanut butter taste. I was happy about it since I’ve never been a fan of peanut butter since forever.
The dessert tea was served in a lovely Japanese style teapot set, which are also sold for souvenirs. A mild taste of white tea succeeded to clean the remaining sweetness from out mouth, without washing away the “sweet memory” of the meal itself.
IT DOESN’T COME TWICE
And that’s not it. We also received a goodie bag, containing a jar of Trimeats’ Cray Oats and two flavours of Lewis and Carroll tea blends packed in a gift box. For the price of $20 each, it was really worth it.
When I said this kind of collaboration may not come twice, I was right. This month, it marks a second anniversary of Trimeats and they do a different type of collaboration to celebrate. In a consumer’s point of view, I personally would rather join the Brunch.