Good news for sweet toothed-individuals and die-hard bubble-tea fans: You can now head over to cafe Share Sweet, located on Olive Boulevard, for an indulging experience. Share Sweet opened doors on Aug. 3. It is owned by Jennifer Chen and Horace Tang, a couple that loves traveling, food and trying new things – like opening a cafe.
The minimalist cafe (with amazing drinks) is the second eatery for the couple (Tang Palace is their other operation). However, unlike Tang Palace, a traditional Chinese restaurant, Share Sweet includes a variety of popular Asian desserts like bubble tea, yet also draws western influence into their food. “We mix [the cuisines]. We don’t want to make the entire shop western styled, but we don’t want to make it entirely Asian,’ Chen says, placing a tray of herb jelly (with handmade taro balls, red bean, and boba) and an outstanding bowl of mango pomelo, both well-known Asian desserts, in front of us.
Chen lived in a few different places before moving to St Louis with Tang. “I lived in Sydney… there were a lot of students from different places so we could try different foods like traditional Thai … We come from Shanghai,” Chen tells us.
Her diverse background influences her food: an example being a popular item on the menu- like cheese tea.
“We wanted to bring things like cheese tea here so people wouldn’t need to go to places like Chicago,” Chen says.
Cheese tea is a popular drink from China – now spreading to big cities such as Chicago and L.A. A somewhat salty frothy layer of ‘cheese’ sits upon a tea of your choice (options being black, green, black/green mango, and black/green lemon). It is served with a lid that at different tilt angles, gives you different amounts of tea and cheese. Although it is a confusing pair, the saltiness of the cheese actually emphasizes the sweetness of the tea. However, it is best not to pair the drink with a sweet food – the saltiness becomes overpowering. We would strongly recommend drinking it alone – it is different, and delicious.
Another influence Chen took from Shanghai was honey toast.
‘We have honey toast, you never seen it here. People say ‘there is never ice cream on toast’, [the honey toast] is very special- it comes from Shanghai and Taiwan, it is very popular there.’ Chen tells us.
After she recommends it, we know we must try it, so we order a classic honey toast. When it arrives, it is a formidable tower of dessert- a stack of bread, topped with vanilla ice cream, bananas, almonds, love letters, a macron and Pocky sticks, all delicately presented atop syrup and whipped cream. We immediately dug in, unable to restrain ourselves. Our forks cut smoothly through the ice cream, but when we reached the toast, there was a definite crispiness to it. We deconstructed the creation, removing the ice cream and placing it to the side, and to our immense pleasure, the honey toast was stuffed with more toast. They toast inside was sweeter, yet less crunchy than the outside bread – giving a nice contrast. This, in the same spoonful as the ice cream gave an exquisite texture, as well as an amazing taste.
After we chat with Chen, we check out the shelves of pudding. One dessert called The Hope catches our eyes. Oreo crumbles resembling soil are held inside of a petite flower pot.
Chen serves the unique treat on a tray with an adorable metal beaker filled with milk tea. She adds a sprig of decorative plant on the “soil” to add a lively element to the entire dessert. We “water” The Hope with the milk tea and plow into the treat with our forks.
To our surprise, there is a thick layer of whipped cream underneath the Oreo crumble. We dig further to reveal a layer of strawberry bits. Digging and engulfing bites of the sweet yet tart layers immediately become a rapidfire routine. After shoveling through another layer of cream, we hit the final layer; an airy sponge cake. The cake’s lightness balanced very well with the cream’s heaviness, and we felt satisfied that the dessert was not too sweet. The presentation was beautiful and the treat tasted wonderful.
And it is this dessert that represents Share Sweet itself: like the leafy green sprout on the Oreo crunch, this cafe is young and growing, and we can´t wait to see it bloom.
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