Friday, October 14, 2011

Happy Lemon

Okay, I have to admit. I’m already left behind. Trends in food and dining are really changing so quickly and sometimes I just can’t follow through. For one, I didn’t really know that tea-based beverages, such as milk teas, have seeped into the otherwise coffee-frenzied culture of the Filipinos. It was, for me, surprising to see so many teahouses sprouting everywhere!
Happy Lemon is among those mainstream teashops, serving modern blends of tea and, because I wanted to feel “in” even if I don’t really drink tea, I decided to give this anime-inspired shop a go.
I’ve seen Happy Lemon featured in several blogs and many of my friends claim that this teahouse has a relaxed and laidback atmosphere. However, when I went to visit this shop with a friend of mine, I almost had a heart attack! I hate the crowd and this is exactly the kind of place I wouldn’t want to be in at any given time - it was totally jam-packed!
All the chairs outside were occupied.
The line was very long!
Plus, there were plenty of people scuffling around the counter to claim their orders.
Literally every part of the shop was filled with people and it had a rowdy, noisy, oppressive, and absolutely unbearable feel inside. This was very far from the supposedly light and relaxed atmosphere others are claiming.
To make matters worse, the place looked like a huge garbage bin. We saw plenty of used cups and plastic bags lying untidily on the floor, stools, tables and everywhere and no one really bothered to clean them at all!
I guess if only there were less people the day we went here, we would’ve appreciated this teahouse more, especially with its fun and friendly façade and design but, unfortunately, we encountered a completely different scenario.
The crowd, however, did not stop us from trying out the beverages sold here as we travelled so far and we were already parched by the time we arrived in the shop. We had one order each of Happy Lemon’s specialty teas.  I ordered their Green Tea with Rock Salt Cheese and my friend had the Milk Tea with Oreo Cookie.
Honestly, I didn’t like any of the teas. I took a sip of my friend’s order and I found it to be too bitter. Then, after some time of drinking mine, I actually just asked her to finish it because, as I feared, it was not my cup of tea.
Green Tea with Rock Salt Cheese (P 90.00)
If you want to feel all holy and divine, try out this tea. Drinking this blend made me feel like I’m some kind of patron saint or even the “Poong Nazareno” with whom Sampaguita flowers are being offered! The green tea had this jasmine-like feel and it was fragrant to the mouth but definitely not pleasant. The rock salt cheese is meant to be eaten with a straw, I think, because it tasted sweet and cheesy, which is a perfect contrast to the bitter taste of the tea. Mixing it with the green tea would definitely be a mistake because its distinct sweetness would be overpowered by the bitter tea. Honestly, I’d rather drink water with the rock salt cheese on top than this jasmine-based green tea.
Milk Tea with Oreo Cookie (P 100.00)
My friend ordered this one and I took a sip because I wanted to try and see if this was any better from my disastrous pick. Anyway, I guess this one’s a little bit friendlier and happier than my order. There were plenty of floating cookies in the drink, which somehow neutralized the bitter flavor of the tea. However, I still can’t stand drinking this. It was still too bitter for my sweet tooth.
Dreadful service - that’s all I can say. I can’t blame them though as there were plenty of people and the teashop was obviously understaffed. The crew can’t even clear the tables, clean the floors, and accommodate everyone.
The buzzer thing, which is supposed to be used to notify the customers that their orders may already be claimed, was nonexistent. I wonder why a lot of people are raving about it at all. We didn’t even get our change and they didn’t bother to remind us about it. My friend had to struggle once again with the customers around the counter to ask for our change. It was a mess, actually.
I was pretty disappointed with the experience I’ve had here - it was actually very unhappy.  I have yet to try some of their other tea blends to really pick the right one for me but I think I wouldn’t really bother going back to this teashop just to do that. Their drinks are reasonably priced but if I can’t even consume an entire cup of their tea, I guess there’s no value for money there at all.
Ambiance - 2/5
Drinks - 2/5
Service - 2/5
Value - 2/5
TOTAL - 2/5

Happy Lemon
2nd Level, Promenade, Greenhills Shopping Center
Ortigas Avenue, Greenhills
San Juan, Metro-Manila


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