I’m so excited that nana’s green tea, a Japanese cafe specializing in matcha or green tea sweets, is opening their first Canadian location in Vancouver, BC! Located in Kerrisdale, nana’s green tea Canada is opening on June 6, 2018. Here’s a sneak preview of the cafe’s signature items!
Disclaimer: I was invited to a media preview at nana’s green tea Canada so the food I tried was complimentary. However, this does not affect my opinion.
Nana’s Green Tea Background
The cafe was established in Tokyo in 2003 and now have 81 locations in Japan with 16 cafes internationally. Regarded as the “Starbucks of Japan”, nana’s green tea is a modern Japanese tea house with an aim to introduce the essence of Japanese culture and traditions through “Matcha”. All their teas are from Uji, Kyoto, one of the most famous tea-producing areas in Japan.
Nana’s Green Tea Canada Menu Preview
At the media preview, I had the opportunity to try a variety of their menu items. While a good portion of their menu items are drinks and sweets, nana’s green tea also have donburi or rice bowls. Let’s take a look at some of their delicious food:
The three difference drinks served at the media event were (photo from left to right): Hoji-cha Shiratama Float, Matcha Chocolate Latte, and Azuki Strawberry Latte. Each drink has its own unique flavour and will appeal to different customers.
The Hoji-cha Shiratama Float has a strong roasted green tea flavour which I loved. I liked that they use hoji-cha ice cream in the float which strengthened the flavour even more. I love the chewy texture of mochi so the addition of the shiratama, a type of mochi or rice dumplings, is definitely to my liking. While this is probably the least “Insta” worthy of the three drinks, it was my favourite because of the prominent hoji-cha flavour.
The Matcha Chocolate Latte has good matcha flavour and you get the chocolate taste from the chocolate sauce. I don’t dislike this drink but it doesn’t stand out for me as much as the hoji-cha did. The pinkish drink is the Azuki Strawberry Latte and you can definitely taste the sweet red bean. However, I didn’t detect any strawberry flavour in the drink. It might be because I tried this one last and my palate was affected by the other two drinks that have stronger flavours. I personally am not a red bean lover so this was my least favourite of the three.
After the drinks, we were served one of their donburi or rice bowls. The Fresh Tuna with Curry Tartar Sauce Donburi has chunks of tuna, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, corn, zucchini and avocado. The “curry tartar sauce” is like a saucy curry flavoured egg salad. I wasn’t sure about this at first but when you mix everything together the flavour actually works! The tuna was tossed in (I think) is a soy-based sesame dressing and the curry provided an additional depth of flavour to this rice bowl. This donburi reminds me of a poke bowl. I would definitely order this if I want a meal before getting some matcha desserts.
I’ve never had a green tea dessert from Japan that I didn’t enjoy so it’s no surprise that I loved all the matcha sweets from nana’s green tea Canada! Of the three desserts that I tried, my favourite is definitely the Matcha Shiratama Parfait!
The Matcha Shiratama Parfait is probably the most famous item on nana’s green tea’s menu. This parfait is made with layers of matcha syrup, matcha pudding, vanilla soft serve, crispy cereal flakes, shiratama rice dumplings, azuki paste, matcha ice cream, whipped cream and more matcha syrup. Yes, there is a lot going on here! The matcha flavour is prominent but not overpowering. This parfait is so packed with different items and textures that it might make you wonder where to start. My advice is to dig deep so you get a bit of everything in one bite.
Finally, we were given two cakes to try, one is the Matcha Roll Cake and the other is the Matcha Gateau Chocolate. I recommend the Matcha Roll Cake for the serious matcha lovers out there. While the green tea roll cake has a hint of matcha flavour, the matcha mousse in the centre is where you get hit with the concentrated and bitter flavour of matcha. This might not be for everyone but I really enjoyed it since I like my matcha strong. Tip: Try to cut the roll cake so each bite-size pieces have a bit of the matcha mousse. This way the cake and cream will balance out the bitterness of the mousse.
While the roll cake is soft and springy, the Matcha Gateau Chocolate is denser in texture. The matcha flavour is more subtle so if you don’t like a strong matcha taste, then this cake is for you. Pair it with a cup of tea of a nice afternoon snack.
Final Thoughts on Nana’s Green Tea Canada
I’m so happy that we finally have a Japanese tea house in Vancouver that specializes in green tea drinks and desserts! Whether you prefer a light green tea flavour or like a bolt matcha taste, there’s something for everyone at nana’s green tea Canada. During the media tasting, I felt like I was sitting in a dessert cafe in Japan. The service was quick and courteous. The food was delicious and the desserts were not too sweet. I’m definitely going back to nana’s green tea Canada so I can try their hoji-cha shiratama parfait and other green tea desserts!