Royal/T Cafe is a restaurant/art gallery that celebrates Japan’s tea culture and is inspired by Tokyo’s maid cafes with the waitresses dressed in maid uniforms. A wide variety of teas are offered alongside Japanese influenced food with a California touch. The multi-purpose space is in a large warehouse with exposed trusses, wooden beams, industrial skylights and full-length wall display cases which create a unique vibe for the cafe as well events and art exhibits.
The five-year project is concluding and the Culver City space will be closing its doors sometime in Summer 2012. Fortunately, there will still be upcoming roaming special events, exhibits and pop-ups in the Los Angeles area. The venue’s final show, “The Art of Cooking,” will run April 27 through Aug. 1, 2012.
The menu offers an array of over 24 types of loose-leaf teas (hot and iced) as well as coffee blends in small or large pots. The teas range from traditional to modern. The cafe’s signature is the Royal/T Milk Tea, a unique combination of Black Tea with rose petals, and pieces of fruit and vanilla, brewed in Soymilk ($4). Another nice tea blend is the Kyoto Sunset Tea, a mix of apricot and premium Ceylon Black Tea ($4). Shown here is the Rooibos Lemonade (iced), a refreshing blend of Green Rooibos, lemongrass, lemon peel, lemon myrtle and calendula ($4) and a large pot of Megami Sencha (hot), a delicious Green Tea with jade intensity ($7).
They also offer a high tea served with choice of small pot ($20). This one features the beautiful jasmine budding tea, small sandwiches (such as cream cheese & lox, grilled veggie panini, and spicy tuna on grilled toast), brownie bites, red-velvet cake-pop, scone and assorted berries.
The food at the cafe is a mixture of California classics and Far East fare. There are many options from soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers to spicy tuna tartar, soba, chicken katsu curry and rice bowls. Brunch options are also available
An excellent starter is Crispy Tuna Tartar ($9), crispy rice wrapped in nori topped with spicy tuna.
The Kobe Beef Sliders ($10), also appetizers, are irresistibly cooked to a perfect medium-well on toasted mini brioche buns. There are three sliders each with a different topping: tomato chutney, blue cheese & caramelized onions, and quail egg. The one top with quail egg is my favorite, offering a delicate savory flavor to the slider, but blue cheese & caramelized onions is a close second.
Chicken Katsu Sandwich with mixed greens ($12) is very fresh and filling. This is a slightly different take on traditional Katsu with crispy panko breaded chicken, Napa cabbage slaw and a spicy mayo, on a ciabatta roll and includes a side salad or sweet potato fries.
Soba Salad ($7) is listed as an appetizer, with buckwheat noodles cooked al dente, carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, sesame seeds, ponzu dressing is light, but can certainly be a whole meal. These buckwheat noodles in a light ponzu are a must-try.
Along with selling Royal/T loose-leaf teas, the retail shop offers an eclectic assortment of tea/coffee accessories, home decor, Japanese Pop Art, jewelry, toys, and other Harajuku-esque chachkies….
Here is a glimpse into “The Art Of Cooking” – a new food and art themed exhibit that brings new meaning to “food for thought.”
Confettisystem (2012), a site specific installation. Giant peaches, silver pineapples and a metallic disco banana made from the same materials as a pinata. Also, join the World of Mr. Toast at the pop-up shop with Joe the Egg, Miles Ice Pop and Shaky Bacon.
Flour LA burger, fries and ketchup flower arrangement.
Maho Sushi Favorite Assortment (2008), acrylic on plastic food sample.
Enjoy some tea, Asian-Fusion treats and peruse the art/retail store while you still can! Parking available at meters or around the corner (behind the restaurant) in a lot marked with a pink crown.
8910 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
Café: 10am – 5pm daily
Shop & Space: 10am – 6pm daily