Winter Warmers

Special thanks to Winter Warmers for extending this food review invitation.

Winter Warmers Coffee & Tea House is a locally-owned chain of English-style tea house. There are currently 7 outlets in total, all located in shopping malls across Penang. The most recent branch is located at Straits Quay.
Like all other outlets, the posh cottage-style ambience sets the tone for a relaxing dining experience. Winter Warmers also provides al fresco dining to allow diners to take advantage of the cool evening breeze while enjoying hot tea. In the spirit of upcoming holiday season, the restaurant is also decorated with various yuletide ornaments.
Winter Warmers is founded in 2000 by a tea enthusiast, who has an obsession for tea set collections. Starting with the original store in Prangin Mall 15 years ago, the tea house has been pouring various types of teas including black, milk, fruit, herbal and green teas.
As an English-style tea house, Winter Warmers has a decent menu of pastry to go with teas. Diners who want a quick bite also have sandwiches, waffles and pasta to choose from. Over the years, Winter Warmers has also introduced proper meals such as poultry, meats, burgers and rice.
The people behind Winter Warmers must have an inexplicable fondness for English teas. In contrast to coffee, tea is typically prepared with warm water at around 70oC, not boiling water. As tea is best enjoyed warm, the glass teapots are heated using a candle below. Accompanying the teapots are teacups and saucers of various designs, each exerting a unique character on its own right.
Mixed Fruit Cocktail (RM14.70) features sour-sweetness of cranberry, which is also responsible for the reddish hue of the tea. Also included are diced apples and bits of hibiscus flower. Meanwhile, Lemon Grass & Mint (RM14.70) combines the distinctive aroma of lemongrass with the cooling freshness of mint. No sugar is added, but honey is provided should guests prefer some degree of sweetness.

Rose Milk Tea (RM13.70) presents a unique drinking experience too. Unlike fruit or herbal teas, milk tea must be prepared with boiling water in order to extract the essence from tea leaves. Despite my reservation, its creaminess does not feel surfeiting. In fact, I enjoyed this tea very much. This is certainly my favorite cup of tea (pun intended).
As Winter Warmers is primarily a tea house, only a handful of pastries are prepared in-house; croissants being one of the few. The Egg Croissant (RM13.70) is stuffed with well-mixed scrambled eggs that do not rely on dressing entirely. The pastry itself is delightfully fluffy. I think the overall taste is satisfying indeed.
Winter Warmers offers afternoon tea sets from 12:00pm to 6:00pm every day. The Deluxcious Afternoon Tea (RM79.90) is meant for 3 or 4 persons. This set comprises of a 3-tier stand filled with various confectionery, bruschetta, canapé plus any 4 pots of black, green or lovely teas. Should a guest prefer something else, just top RM2.00 to enjoy any drink on the menu.
Afternoon tea is meant to be enjoyed starting from the bottom layer. This is because the items are arranged such that saltier ones are at the bottom, while the easily-surfeiting sweet ones are placed towards the top.

The Tuna Bruschetta is made from baguette spread with garlic butter on one side. While the crust of bread is crispy, its center remains pleasantly soft. Freshly-made tomato salsa and minced tuna are served in separate bowls. In particular, I find the tomato salsa to be rather appetizing.
Also served on a separate plate are Tuna Crunchy Crackers. These crackers are topped with tuna and cheese spread à la canapé style.
At the bottom tray are pies and sandwiches. Mushroom & Chicken Pies are the main highlight here. I must say that the pastry for pie is nicely prepared. This gives pleasurable mouthfeel especially when eaten with the chicken and mushroom fillings inside. Indeed, I look forward to seeing meal-size meat pies on the future menu!
Tarts, cookies and cake await at the intermediate layer. There are two types of tarts: savory and sweet versions. Savory tarts contain crab sticks with mayonnaise dressing, while sweet tarts are topped with mango and kiwi fruits. As for cookies, the flavors are rosemary, rose, mint-chocolate and lavender. As for the cake, one can choose a slice from any available ones at the chiller. Today, the choice is Lavender Cheese Cake. Made in-house, the creamy nature of the cheese cake is gratifying indeed.
Taking residence at the top tray are scones and mousse desserts. The scones contain rose petal for a subtle sense of fragrance, plus intermittent pieces of raisins. In companionship are butter, whipped cream and a fun-size jar of rose jam. Meanwhile, each cup of mousse contains a layer of strawberry jelly on top. The top layer is too sweet for me, so it is better to scoop through the custard layer so that the overall sweetness is more agreeable.
The afternoon tea set is quite worthwhile because each pot of tea costs around RM14.00 anyway. For smaller parties, there are also smaller tea sets for single diners and couples. Not many restaurants extend their offers to weekends, so Winter Warmers is really an uncommon exception.
Winter Warmers serve breakfast in the morning till 11:00am. Priced from RM9.90, there are a handful of choices such as sandwiches, croissant and bagels. The meal includes free flow of coffee or tea. Once again, breakfast meals are also available on weekends, making Winter Warmers a great place to enjoy a lazy weekend morning.
Although all outlets have merchandize on sale, the Straits Quay branch has the most elaborate one. Nearly all types of tea on the menu are also available for purchase. Although several types of black tea are packaged in tea bags, most tea come in loose form. To maintain quality and hygiene, fruit and black teas are typically sourced from Germany and Taiwan respectively.
In addition, there are various tea pots and teacups on sale too, each boasting a unique, intricate design. Apart from personal use, these tea sets make good collectibles and gift ideas too. Of particular mention is bone china, where crushed animal bones are mixed with china to form much smoother surface. As a result, bone china does not become stained as easily as regular china.
Frequent patrons to Winter Warmers should seriously consider its membership program. For a lifetime membership fee of RM60.00, the member is immediately reimbursed with a RM30.00 cash voucher. Members enjoy 20% and 10% discount on all food items including set meals, on weekdays and weekends respectively. Nearly once every week, members also enjoy steep discounts (up to 50%) on a specific food item.
In celebration of Winter Warmers' 15 year anniversary, the restaurant is offering a commemorative mug for any spending of RM80.00 in a single bill. While stocks last, of course. Also for a limited time, all merchandize at the store is also marked 20% off. So grab this opportunity to supplement your tea supply and tea set collection!
Name: Winter Warmers Coffee & Tea House
Address: 3A-G-17, Straits Quay, Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang, 10470 Tanjung Tokong, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-899-3848
Business hours: 8:30am-11:30pm (Sunday-Thursday), 8:30am-12:30am (Friday-Saturday)
Website: https://www.winterwarmers.net
Coordinates: 5.45757 N, 100.31339 E
Directions: Winter Warmers is located at the Ground Floor of Straits Quay, between Starbucks Coffee and Blue Reef Fish & Chips. The mall has two multi-level parking garages.

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