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Jan 23, 2007 05:43 PM

Jin Patisserie - Very Disappointing - The Search For A Decent Cup Of Tea In Los Angeles Continues

I have been reading effusive articles about Jin on Abbott Kinney ever since they opened (boy, they must have a good p.r. firm). I've wanted to try it forever, but I just never get to Venice.

Today, I needed car work and my mechanic is in Venice, so I thought Jin would be a perfect place to spend a few hours while I waited for my car.

Ordered the quiche set, which included salad, slice of quiche, pot of tea and dessert. $16. Quiche okay, but not great (more like a frittata than a true quiche - if you want a great quiche, go to Cafe Midi on La Brea - French-owned and the best quiche I've had in L.A.) Salad fine.

The real disappointment was the jasmine tea. They bring you a pot with no leaves, so I was wondering if they actually just stick the hot water in the pot, dunk in a tea bag, take out the tea bag and bring you the pot of tea. I'm really not sure since they sell loose tea from Palais des Thes, but perhaps they actually serve bagged tea, not the stuff they sell. All I know is that this was not good jasmine tea - either the tea quality was inferior or they don't know how to brew tea. Very, very disappointing.

I didn't particularly care for the dessert either, but don't want to judge that since it was gooey-creamy and I prefer a different style of dessert (They only have gooey-creamy cakes, not the drier style I prefer).

Still had over a hour to kill while the mechanic worked on the car, so I thought I would order a second pot of tea in the hope that the first mediocre pot was an aberration. This time I ordered mint tea, which the menu implied actually had real mint leaves (a pot of good quality tea, with real mint leaves floating in it - usually only found at Middle Eastern or North African restaurants - is a thing of joy). This mint tea had no mint leaves and was as mediocre as the jasmine.

I had read so much about Jin's chocolates that I wanted to try them and ordered two small pieces (at $2 a pop) to go with the second pot of tea. One was cinnamon infused, which I just didn't like - the flavors didn't work. The other had green tea in it - it was okay, but nothing I would dream about.

Total bill for lunch for one was $26.95 before tip. I would not return.

Apart from a really good Japanese restaurant or the Tea Garden in West Hollywood or my own kitchen, I find that it is virtually impossible to get a good cup of tea in this town.

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  1. Oh! I am so sorry to hear about your disappointing experience at Jin's, especially since it was I who encouraged you to try it.

    We had afternoon tea there a few months back and found it to be superior. When we ordered, they spent some time asking us what we like in teas, and really made an effort to find something to fit each of our tastes; yes, we each had a different kind, and there were three of us. I just can't believe that your experience was anything inferior...too bad, and my apologies to encouraging you in that direction.

    Meanwhile, still on the subject of brewing tea, I ordered the Gongfu pot from Gongfu Tea, and although I am reluctant to recommend anything to you (!!!!), it is a really fun way to brew tea. Check out the post on the Cookware Board about the brewing basket...if you trust me!

    1. If you like fresh mint tea I recommend the fresh mint tisane at BLD on Beverly Blvd. Their tea and coffee service are both good. The press pots they use are super cool. I haven't seen them used anywhere else in town at this point.

      I have not had a bad experience with the teas at JIN PATISSERIE. In fact, I really appreciate that they steep it for you so it doesn't become too strong if you leave the tea in longer than you should. Their hot chocolate is wonderful also.

      1. i've had similar experiences at Jin. the tea was terrible, something wrong with the water that made it "hard", while the flavour was very lacking. i had a millefeuille type cake that i thought was pretty good at first, but then realised the cream had totally seeped into the pastry leading to some congealed mushy crap, didn't finish that. the 2nd time i went we skipped the cakes and got macaroons and chocolates - macs were pretty good, chocolates forgettable. the little outdoor area also has some serious feng shui type issues, very bad vibes and claustraphobic. also dont appreciate sitting on an extended family of ants!

        1 Reply
        1. re: missholmes

          I'm glad it's not just me with the tea. I know I have some pretty high standards when it comes to tea, but I don't think my standards are impossible. I also agree that the place has some serious feng shui issues.

          As I said, I had been reading about this place for years (again, they must have a seriously good p.r. firm) and after all the hype, it was a real disappointment. But hat's off to their p.r. firm.

        2. the last time i went (had the concubine tea- AMAZING flavor), i didn't find the tea hot enough. i wished they gave an option whether to have the tea pre-steeped or not.

          1. I am on the other end of the dessert spectrum, since I prefer soft custards and delicate mousses and take a pass on hard-crust pies and cookies. That's probably I love Jin's cakes, they have intense flavors and less sugar piled on than most dessert shops (like Sweet Lady Jane).

            Their chocolates are best if you pick a deep flavor such as the mango kalamansi, as the tea-flavored variants are probably too subtle. Plain coffee probably complements the chocolates better than tea, in my opinion. :)

            1 Reply
            1. re: WBGuy

              I'm in full agreement.

              Tea flavors are, in my opinion, terribly difficult to reproduce in truffles-- they're simply too delicate a flavor to work with most chocolates (maybe white, but that doesn't really involve cacao).

              I plan on going on Thursday!