WHERE: Esora Restaurant, Singapore Nestled inside a heritage shophouse, Esora Restaurant is a Japanese kappo-style fine dining restaurant. Translated to mean “cut and cook”, the Kappo affair comprises the chef concocting a multi-course meal in front of diners for them to witness and admire an intimate culinary process. Furnished with pale minimalist decor and blonde wood finishings reminiscent of Japanese paper screen doors, patrons can immerse themselves in the modern Zen of this quaint setting. Chef-owner Shigeru Koizumi’s forte resides in his intimate attention to detail – with a distinctively light palate, his cooking techniques often deliver a deep sense of tranquillity and relaxation to his diners. Bask in the ultimate Esora experience with the most comforting food on their menu: the ochazuke – a simple dish featuring a bowl of steamed rice partially steeped in hot tea or savoury dashi. Usually served as a heartening end to a meal, this Japanese classic is well-loved and thoughtfully prepared at Esora.
TEA IS FOR TRAVEL: platform.
WHERE: platform., Singapore Sometimes a new experience can be just a stone’s throw away. Sequestered in the bustle of Singapore’s CBD, platform. – a drink studio – is a comforting pocket of quietude for the souls who enjoy the sweetness of being alone with a fine brew. In the day, the cream white of platform.‘s interior is illuminated by natural light flooding in, providing the perfect backdrop for your #aesthetic snap. By night, the space transforms and gives off a different kind of energy that makes you want to hit pause on life and linger there with its soft ambient lighting and the buzz from their delicious concoctions. Nothing about the place is an afterthought: from the distinctly minimalist furnishing to the carefully curated menu of cocktails and light bites. Recognized as one of the top new bars in 2019, platform. serves up enticing cocktails that combine the layered flavor of tea and the intoxicating allure of alcohol in innovative
TEA IS FOR TRAVEL: Mixology Salon
WHERE: Mixology Salon, Tokyo In a city where the traditional converges with the avant-garde, Mixology Salon sits at the center and offers creative tea-inspired spirits using a curated collection of premium teas leaves – from hojicha-infused bourbon and soba cha vodka to oolong tea-flavoured rum and sencha gin – in a relaxed and understated nook atop Ginza Six shopping mall. Their star mixologist Shuzo Nagumo introduced “teatail”, which became the ne plus ultra of their menu. Using Gyokuro – regarded as the highest quality of green tea natively – a cocktail course is charged with three different levels of infusion so you can savor the nuances between each tea strength. There is a certain ceremony to the experience that is quintessentially Japanese: to complete the course, you will be served with a smoked oyster soy sauce finished with the residual Gyokuro tea leaves. If you hit the bar during the right time of the year, you might get to try
TEA IS FOR TRAVEL: Kou-An Glass Teahouse
WHERE: Kou-An Glass Teahouse, Tokyo Tea, since time immemorial, has been an important thread in Japan’s cultural and philosophical fabric. Artist Tokujin Yoshioka crystallized his reverence for his native tradition in a different form that sheds a new light on the art of tea in today’s milieu. Images: Tokujin Yoshioka The minimal glass architecture forgoes the typical physical elements one would find in a teahouse, such as a tatami, Ikebana, and calligraphy scroll. It is reduced to the rudiments of how tea ceremony is appreciated: in a state of mind that transcends time, space, and object. In the open-window concept, observers will see the transparent installation’s poetic expression in constant flux under the travelling sunlight at different times of the day. Spatial cognition is thrown in sharp relief when one moves into it, as the line between indoor and the surrounding environment is invisible. It is an experience that would pique your deeper senses and a newfound appreciation for the
TEA IS FOR TRAVEL: 29b Teahouse
WHERE: 29b Teahouse, New York This premium establishment was conceived by Tea Dealers, one of the few purveyors of pure non-blended roast teas in America. For those who are looking for an interlude between the exciting attractions and iconic museums in the bustling city, 29b Teahouse’s ceramic-lined space can be a modern sanctuary of calm and comfort, complete with a tasting room where you can pair their curated line-up of premium teas with food items from their menu. Their Ochazuke – our go-to recommendation – makes for a light, spirit-lifting meal for the tired traveller. It is a humble tea-dish featuring soy-and-wasabi-cured fish, vegetables, and ume on top of short-grain white rice, complemented with a pour of smoky Hojicha on it. DRINK: Charcoal roasted Taiwanese Oolongs, Matcha-beer On the drinks menu, their roster of teas evolves with owner Stefen Ramirez’s recent travels to the different tea producing countries in Asia. So expect your senses to be taken to new places