Take out: yes Waiter Service: yes Outdoor seating: no Alcohol: no
Food Quality: 3.5 out of 5 Decor: 4 out of 5 Service: 3 out of 5 Overall: 3.5 out of 5 Recommendation: Great place for modern afternoon tea.
Next to the number 1 Taipei City hall exit is a modern looking tea house offering a wide assortment of tea, sandwiches, and desserts. Smith and Hsu is just the place for a modern afternoon tea experience at an affordable price.
The space is small, and there are limited seating available, so be sure to reserve a table in advance in order to secure a spot. It is almost impossible to walk-in. For some odd reason the workers would not let me take pictures of the whole space due to the presence of products. I liked their wooden themed designed like your whole table was a cutting board in a bakery. Their service was not as good as I expected. They did not cater to our needs promptly (We had to ask twice before they refilled our tea). They also had trouble splitting the bill properly, and revealed their poor math abilities. They were pretty average servers.
The dining experience was more pleasant than the decor and service. I really enjoyed the fact that you could smell dry tea samples before ordering your tea. Each jar corresponds to a number listed in the menu. This added element in tea selection sets this place on a different tier in the teahouse arena.
The teas were very smooth and soothing. However, they should use heat the teapots with a small candle contraption because it tends to cool down quite fast. The ceramics with their wide rimmed cups and elongated tea kettle seemed to have a modern look with asian influences.
The sandwhich above is the smoked chicken, mango, and cream cheese sandwich. I chose this sandwich because it seemed unique due to the addition of mango, so gave it a try. The bread is quite thick and dense, yet the lightly smoked chicken paired pretty well with the mango cream cheese. The tartness of the mango accentuated the smokey, salty chicken. Kind of how a chinese chicken salad can mix mandarins and chicken. Of course the lettuce added a crunchy wet texture to the sandwich, while the cream cheese somehow blended into the mix without dominating the whole thing.
The scones here are quite delicious, although one is enough for me. I had a fun time trying out each condiment with the scones, but was left thinking what the difference between a scone and a biscuit was. Eaten alone, these scones would be too dry for me. However, these scones pair well with the tea. I recommend getting the blueberry and the lemon meringue condiments since the apricot jam was not very distinctively paricot, but just fruity and sweet in general. The butter was just butter, and the scones don't come out hot enough for you to really get a nice lather, so you just end up eating butter chunks. I really wanted to try the smith and hsu afternoon tea set combo, which has two kettles of tea paired with a 3 tiered sampler platter. However, since I could not attempt that alone, I will have to return on a later date to fill in the details. I really coveted my neighbor's platter. All in all, its a sleek afternoon tea option at a reasonable price.