The first time. It’s important, right? On my first time – with the tea tent in Medická Záhrada, that is – a bare-footed, bearded man engaged me in an interesting discussion about birdwatching in Slovakia: besides recommending then serving me with a very good iced tea…
It’s illustrative of the ease – the slightly Bohemian, but very serene ease – with which “Tvoja Čajovna” (your teahouse) has operated, now, for several years.
In Medická Záhrada, possibly Bratislava’s best-kept city park (Záhrada means garden), this double marquee (the larger of the two tents is for sitting, in far-Eastern style on the floor or cushions, and sipping; the smaller of the two is for the kitchen) announces the start of summer proper when it opens its doors – or perhaps more accurately lifts its flaps – at the beginning of May. And it does so in the gentlest, least assuming way that a place which by now has the deserved status of a city institution possibly could.
It would be easy for Tvoja Čajovna to put on grand airs (being quite simply the city’s nicest eatery to be actually enclosed within a park) or to serve unappealing Slovak stodge for food (it serves healthy platters of hummus, pita bread and salad) or indeed to charge high prices for the privilege of the beautiful location (they don’t).
Instead this veritable encampment (because there’s also two other covered drinking/dining areas separate from the main tent) concentrates on attentive service: particularly where tea is concerned. You can even order a Japanese tea ceremony here!
It’s not Bratislava’s finest čajovna, but when you factor in the location, and the beautiful Moroccan-style interior, it’s also not that far off. And when the sun beats down in the 35-degree midday summer heat, it’s the best place to cool off – whilst remaining relatively sophisticated
Relevant civic authority: don’t screw up and make it hard for Tvoja Čajovna to return next year, OK?
OPENING: 10pm-around 8pm May until October – in fair or good weather only (so don’t come here hoping for shelter in a thunderstorm)
BEST TIME TO VISIT: A sweltering hot June lunchtime
NEXT ON THE JOURNEY: 4km east of Medická Záhrada is the neighbourhood of Ružinov