Two brothers, a Binghamton University student and a Binghamton University alumni, come together with a dream to bring the recipes from their family history to the 607 community. With a simple and elegant look, Novel Tea Café, located right under 20 Hawley apartments, is calming and friendly. High tables allow for a perfect homework environment, a date spot, or a place to grab a quick snack with friends. Open until 10pm, Novel Tea is perfect for anything from late night munchies to a thirst-quenching sweet tea.
Our first drink was Novel Tea Café’s Green Milk Tea with Tapioca Pearls. I personally love green tea, and will opt for anything green tea flavored, and I was definitely not let down. With a flavor of green tea that is noticeable yet not too strong, it was perfectly sweet. The addition of tapioca pearls at the bottom complimented the green tea taste and added a delicious treat when slurped up the giant straw.
Our second drink was the Café’s Passion Fruit Green Tea with Lychee Jelly. Usually I am not a passion fruit fan, but I loved the rush of freshness and sweetness. The iced tea with lychee jellies was so unique and delicious, I definitely recommend this tea for any newbie to the world of artisan Asian cuisine.
The Chinese influence behind this Roast Pork Bun allowed for salty and flavorful pork inside of a sweet, dense, and flavorful bun. It was clear the bread was fresh and it went well with the Cantonese-style BBQ on the pork. Don’t be alarmed if you’ve never had a pork bun, you will love it (maybe even more than pork in bacon form). After being served one and scarfing it down, I immediately ordered a second, and you surely will too.
Pictured above, on the top right, are Novel Tea Café’s Bulgogi Dumplings. They are traditionally topped with the house special soy and we added sriracha for an extra spicy kick. The dough was well cooked and filled with a solid helping of beef. No skimping here! It was clear how fresh the meat and spices were, coming out in top-notch taste. Also pictured above, the bottom left dish is the Asian Fried Chicken Bits. The chicken was crispy and definitely not too breaded. It was also so flavorful from the freshness of the meat and the marinade of soy sauce, Asian seasonings, and more. The owner of Novel Tea Café suggested we dip in spicy mayo, and I can definitely say the result was positive.
Last but definitely not least, we tried both the Original Egg Tart and the Portuguese Egg Tart. The original, pictured above looking more yellow, was sweet and creamy. It was exotic and delicious, with a perfectly flakey and not burnt crust. The Portuguese Egg Tart has less egg than the original and is more like a custard. It had burnt sugar on top, the Asian version of a crème brûlée topping.
Regardless of where you are from, give this authentic Asian cuisine café a change. You won’t regret it. Novel Tea Café is also offering specials this week! From Tuesday May 15th to Friday May 20th dumplings, spring rolls, milk teas, juice teas, egg tarts, and roast pork buns are buy one get one 1/2 off (of equal or lesser value in the same categories)!