Spill the Tea - Singapore
If you have been following this blog or we are personally acquainted, you might already know that I have a weakness... a coffee weakness. I have always been and will be a coffee person. Coffee is 'my drink of choice', it is a way of life, or a way to approach life. But it is not just coffee, occasionally I resolve to tea to fix my life dilemmas... In England, every gloomy situation can be made brighter with a cup of tea. Tea time can be a beautiful way to disconnect from reality or the opposite - dive into the present moment and mindfully enjoy all it has to offer. My journey with tea started very early on. Ever since I was young, my family would enjoy an afternoon tea session, accompanied by some special treat. At my Russian grandma's house, tea was a tradition. Aunties, uncles and cousins would gather over tea, brewed in a samovar or using one of these old school weird and extremely dangerous looking boiling water devices (electric water heater - barzovar) . The tea would then be served in beautifully crafted porcelain tea cups or (my personal favourite) in a podstakannik, a uniquely Russian silver plated glass holder, embossed and decorated with flora and fauna elements, and then enjoyed for hours on end. I've also recently got into herbology and its application as a remedy against different health conditions and discomforts. I am in the very beginning and therefore haven't got much to share yet. But soon... give it time. On top of all of the above, I live in Malaysia and I have access to Chinese tea ceremony and the numerous varieties of tea combinations available here. It is needless to say that the tea ceremony practiced in the East is very different from what I am used to. It is a celebration of selecting, steaming, brewing, pouring and serving techniques, of which I understand absolutely nothing (for now). Luckily there are plenty of places in Singapore and Malaysia that know their craft and would serve you an excellent experience as well as a cup filled with steeped warmth and magic. So here is to a new topic of conversation in this blog, I am spilling the tea... here are my top three places in Singapore to 'tea' in.
9 Tyrwhitt Rd, Singapore 207528
Antea Social was such a pleasant surprise. Tucked away in a less common for the tourists area, this place offers an experience that transcends mundane reality. The interior is open and welcoming, it feels comforting, almost as if the interior is giving you a big warm hug. I love their use of lighting and paper lanterns, which soften the mood of on otherwise very contemporary setting. Once inside one feels as if the time has stopped, the rush of the big road has been left behind, and now the focus is on tea and tea alone.
Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage. ~Catherine Douzel
SILK Tea Bar
26A Sago St, Singapore 059021
This next place was a deliberate discovery for me. After visiting An Tea Social, I just had to dive in exploring the local tea culture and Silk Tea Bar was naturally the first place to follow up. I first visited the tea bar on a very gloomy and rainy day, which contributed even more to the already soothing and cosy experience. Silk Tea Bar is a hidden gem tucked in the pleats of Chinatown. Easy to miss from the very street, one must look for the sign and ascend a steep staircase into the second floor of an old heritage building. Silk Tea bar is a place for tea and conversations, literally. They also offer the chance to try self brewing tea under the instructions and observation of experienced and very knowledgeable staff. The best thing is they change their tea menu regularly, so there is always something new to try.
30 Victoria St, #01-04/05, Singapore 187996
Hvala feels a bit more on the commercial side of the tea experience, yet it is still a place I wholeheartedly recommend. They have a few locations in Singapore, the ones I have visited so far are Hvala Chijmes and Hvala Craig Road. The space look contemporary, you must order through an automated machine, which breaks the feeling of being in a traditional tea house. Yet that might just be the modern Japanese influence.
Here at Hvala, we aspire to create a platform for the modern-day Picasso and Hemingway to gather. A place for conversations and tea, we are proud and excited to invigorate your artistic, intellectual and flavour tastebuds all at once.
Whether you are Picasso or Hemingway or neither you would most definitely find something on their menu to capture your attention and to convert your tea session into a true pleasure for the senses. Aside from tea, they also serve a variety of matcha drinks, dairy free gelatto ( Sweet Potato my favourite), three different types of pillowy mochi and more. My only complaint and something to keep in mind is, they tend to be quite busy and not the most welcoming towards the lonely Hemingways out there, meaning if you are a solo traveller you would most likely get the worst seating, which is still not that bad if I have to be completely honest. But as I said I've visited two outlets out of four, will keep you updated on this concern of mine, as I still am very much determined to visit their other spaces in Singapore.