Monday, September 14, 2009

Having Tea to rest and soothe the soul

Next to Raffles Hotel, situated along Seah Street, is a cafe that serves Tea. Tea drinking in Singapore is quite common and there are quite some places serving tea. I just happen to catch this on TV and do a search on the internet for the address. Though I wanted to go and drink so tea, i was also having fear of not knowing how to appreciate the tea and the art of tea drinking, still i made up my mind to go and try it out.

As i saw from the TV, the owner acquires the her tea leaves from Taiwan and only picks the best for her customers and even the food was prepared with intricate attention to the details. This sure sounds good, especially when it is broadcasted on national tv.
The cafe is located on the second level of the shop houses. Once you enter the main door, the is a flight of stairs leading up to the 2nd level. The decoration along this part of the cafe is simple yet bring a sense of class to the whole area. It's just like entering a museum. Once you enter entrance door closes, you can feel a sense of serenity. A total change of ambience and surroundings. Since there are no waitress waiting to serve you at the bottom of the stairs, the only way is to go up. If it is the 1st visit, the customer may walk very carefully so as not to disturb the peaceful surroundings. It is quite an experience!

As you travel up the stairs, you can hear the faint jazzy music playing. Upon coming up the flight of stairs, you will see their 'kitchen' where the waitress prepare the tea and the food. Though being a chinese tea cafe, the waitresses converse to you in English, so dont be startled if they reply in english when you talk to them in chinese.

The place was overall a rather small cosy area, if you compared to those TCC, starbucks outlet. The ambience and surroundings extends that of the entrance to the main cafe area. You can really feel very comfortable, and it is just like going back to a very cosy and comfortable home. This is where things seems to be separated from the real world of hustle and bustle. I would say it is an ideal place to sit and wait for the world to go by, while reading a book and enjoying tea. One thing though is that the number of tables are limited.

The tea varieties are not really a lot, but they do serve tea from the main stream asia countries like Taiwan, China, Japan. They also server some english teas. There are some finger food and japanese pastries, but choices are limited.

4 Seasons tea, 四季茶 (Complimentary Sample)

This tea was served as a sample and comes complimentary from the cafe.

The tea was served in a beautiful glassware. The workmanship of the glassware can be considered to be very good. With this type of glassware, you would not expect it to be chinese tea, but they served their sample of the 4 seasons tea.

Taste: The tea is rather fragrant. It is a light tea, that can be said to belong to the class as jasmine.

Japanese Tea - Gyokuro, 玉露 (S$15.00)

The tea comes in a nice oblong porcelain tray, with the different utensils placed appropriately. The tea consist of the tea, a few hard candies, and a piece of sweet tangerine japanese jelly.
The set comes with the necessary cups and utensils to pour and filter the tea leaves from the tea. It may seem overwhelming at first, but a it all falls into place after looking at each cup. The tea leaves are placed in the brown porcelin cup. Pour the hot water into this container to let the taste of the tea leaves spread into the water. Once the tea is ready, place the wooden filter over the white cup and pour the tea there to cool it off a little. Then once ready to drink pour it into the cup and drink it.

The tea taste bitter or rather 甘 at the very 1st moment it touches the palate. Eating the sweet tangerine jelly will offset the bitter taste. However the bitter taste is also the essence of the tea. After a few sip of the tea, when the palate, got used to the bitterness, the tea proves to be a fantastic liquid. The tea plus the soft easy listening music soothes the body and relaxes the soul.

Recommended Dish

Chinese Herbal Tea Egg, 茶叶蛋 (S$3.50)

The tea egg comes in a small teadrop bowl that is just sufficient to hold the egg with some tea sauce. Using pure white utensils, the egg is presented in a simple yet elegant layout.

This is not the typical tea egg which taste full of herbal medicine. The egg yoke is half cooked and is similar to those Hokaido type of eggs, where the yoke has texture that is buttery.
The sauce is sweet and salty at the same time, and has a slightly tea fragrance. However the sauce is meant to be taken together with the egg, else the sauce is simply too salty on its own.

Recommended Dish

Tea Wings (S$5.00)

Similarly to the tea eggs, the presentation is very plain, with just the wings and a little decoration. The wings were sprinkled with a pinch of salt and pepper. This also acts as part of the decoration, in addition to bringing out the flavour.

The wings taste similar to soy sauce chicken wings, but without the soy sauce. I could not find any fragrant taste of tea. This could possibly due to a short time in marination of the wings. The wings still contains some frozen taste, which is very much evident near the bone.

Not Recommended Dish

Tea Cafe's Service
Though the service that the waitress gave was quite good, but i believe that the service can be improved. One such example, would be that they can make recommendations to guests on what type of tea would be good, since the menu only provides the name of the tea. It would be difficult for a customer to choose what type of tea to go for.
The waitresses could also be more attentive, as in my case where some of the tea overflows to the table, and while some waitresses walked pass to serve other customers, they did not notice that the existing customers require services other than refilling the water in the glass kettle.

Tea Cafe Cleanliness
Overall, good cleanliness for all their utensils.

Presentation: 4.5/5
Taste: 4.5/5
Service: 4/5
Cleanliness: 4.5/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5
This is a good place to bring along a book to rest for the weekend. Just staying there for 3 hours would be sufficient to soothe and relax yourself. It is an experience to tasting the other tea while enjoying your favourite book with some light music playing the background. I will be back to rest my tired soul.



  1. What a lovely place. The Japanese tea caught my eye. I have never tasted gyokuro but I've read it's the finest Japanese green tea. I dream of having my own tea place as well. Thanks for the tour.

  2. Looks so soothing and yummy! I love finding tea cafes and spending hours there.

  3. Divina: it is a good tea indeed. You need patience with this tea. The 1st few sips will then to turn you off, especially if you dont like bitterness. Take a few more sips and it will be a wonderful tea for the afternoon. Thanks for reading my blog.

    Marillyn: It is really a very nice place. 1st time been there and i love it. I will be back for more tea. THanks for reading my blog.

  4. Gosh! Your pictures make me wanna go there. I often go to Tiffany @ Raffles Hotel but have not heard of this place. Would definitely love to give it a try. Responded to your comment @ Luxury Indulgence with thanks :)

  5. What a lovely place! I wish that I lived a lot closer.

  6. Blackswan: Its very near to Raffles, instead of Raffles hotel, just head towards the end of Seah street and you can try out their tea too.:)

    Bromography: You can try visit the place when you come to singapore for a visit. Asian countries offer quite a lot of varieties in terms of food. Good to tour the region.:)


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