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Side Dishes: Tulsi Tea Room reopens in Montpelier

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When Tulsi Tea Room opened on Elm Street in Montpelier last September, it quickly established itself as a spot where locals gathered for tea, chats and checkers games. Health-boosting herbal tisanes, including chai made with Indian tulsi — also known as “holy basil” — white tea and mint, came from Green Mountain Medicinals next door.

Last month, owner Solenne Thompson closed for two weeks to renovate and make some changes to her concept, she says. On July 3, Tulsi had its grand reopening.

And it’s gotten creamier. Thompson is known in the community as the raw-food, vegan and gluten-free caterer who crafts Amai Bijoux sweets. The original Tulsi menu was Ayurvedic and designed primarily by the natural health practitioners with whom Thompson shares a building. This time around, her offerings include more decadent choices.

Those include English-style high tea from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, complete with tea sandwiches, scones, cookies, clotted cream and jam.

Tulsi is also hopping on the bubble-tea trend, but with a twist. Thompson says she was discouraged to learn that most versions of the Asian treat are full of caramel color and other artificial ingredients. The solution: She cooks her own tapioca balls and makes a lineup of teas from scratch. Flavors include maple syrup and vanilla and hibiscus and lemongrass. Of course, all the ingredients are organic.

For those feeling less self-indulgent, there’s a homemade chapati sampler and a bento box filled with vegan sushi.

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