Tea Bone Zen Mind – Afternoon Tea

This tea house has been around for a few years but they have shifted a few times before I got down to paying a visit. See the thing is, this is not like a typical F&B establishment. To have a tea session here, you need to make an appointment and it has to be made 4 days in advanced. Most of the time I do things based on my mood the very day so the thought of calling up to reserve in advance puts me off. I kept procrastinating on planning a trip here because there wasn’t an urgency too. As a result, years have passed and only now when it’s move to it’s 4th premises did I get to check out this place. Every move is an upgrade and this place at Emerald Hill is beautiful. It was love at first sight when I stepped in. It looked more like a museum than a tea house (based on what I imagined it should be) and definitely one of a kind in Singapore.

This place absolutely takes no walk ins for tea sessions (you could walk in to purchase items I suppose), and they probably do not expect walk in customers too since it’s located in a residential house. They don’t even have a signboard outside and you have to ring the doorbell to get in, just like a house visit.

Tea ware placed near the entrance.

More tea cups placed on the first level. I booked my tea appointment at 3pm and we were led upstairs for the tea sampling session. It is $55/pax, no options given. The items will change from time to time I suppose. The price has increased a lot from what I last heard of it to be ($38). Perhaps the new location was a reason for it, but for such a nice, unique and conducive environment to enjoy tea and the lovely afternoon once in a while, I think it’s worth it, especially if you are the sort who enjoys spending hours sipping tea slowly. I spent a lovely 4 hours here.

Apple tea with rum to be added later. You can spike your drink as you wish. This was very refreshing and perfect to start off. This glass is actually quite big and I spent quite some time slowly sipping my tea.

Taiwanese oolong with tofu fishcake, in oolong tea broth and some pickled plum with sea salt, like umeboshi. I am not a fan of sour things and plum included so I probably couldn’t appreciate that. The tea broth was quite unique.

Mushroom with a cheesey taste. Sorry for the lousy description, I didn’t really catch what the server mentioned about it because I was busy soaking up the zen atmosphere.

Tea egg

Was surprised to find nitamago runny center! I am inspired to marinate my nitamago in herbal tea egg marinade too. This is an inspiration. I will try to make this at home.

Genmaicha with rice cracker and chestnut paste cake. Inside the spherical container next to the teapot is some kind of candy.

Check out the fake moss spherical topiaries in the background! Apparently there’s a new trend of moss appreciation going on in Japan. There are tour groups bringing guests with to Shirakami Sanchi (a UNESCO Heritage Site in Aomori Prefecture) specially to view moss under microscopes. There’s something about moss which is calming.

Cotton candy that was so light weight it disintegrated to almost nothing when eaten.

This is the room I spent my afternoon in. Most tea sessions open to public are held here.

More tea ware on display upstairs.

These 2 rooms are for private functions and they look so “namaste” (for the lack of a better word).

I love how the levels of this house are staggered and asymmetrical.

Tatami room

I love how high the ceiling is. I’ve got a huge thing for high ceilings, the higher the better. I love the feeling of spaciousness it gives me. Low ceilings makes me feel constricted.

I would love to rate the ambiance of this place to be 11/10 but I could recognise that some items are from IKEA. I personally do not like seeing furniture, lights, decorations, serve ware and basically anything from IKEA at restaurants.

It somehow makes the place seem less exclusive if I can make out where their items come from, and I happened to recognise majority of IKEA’s items from browsing their site and flipping their catalog.

Their furnishing and decorative items looks like it came from various sources so at very least the IKEA-ness wasn’t screaming in my face, though I couldn’t unsee it once detected.

Still, this is the nicest tea house in Singapore I believe. I like how private they make it to be and the location, beautiful carpentry and fake moss that adds to the “namaste” feel.

*****

Ambiance: 10/10
Food: 8/10
Value 7.5/10
Overall: Easily the most unique tea house and tea experience in Singapore.

*****

Tea Bone Zen Mind
98 Emerald Hill Road
Singapore 229374

Tel: 63334540

*****

Monday – Saturday:
11am – 7pm (by appointment only)

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