I fell in love instantly with this little teahouse tucked away on 9 Neil Road in an old row of shophouses. It’s rustic, peaceful and meditative – a haven from the endless rush of the city. Mum is currently still reeling from the effects of chemotherapy, and I thought a serene environment would do her some good, along with some healthy teas and nutritious food for the mind, body and soul.
Tea Chapter basically houses a tea shop and a tea house where various teas and food is served. We entered the door on the left leading up a long wooden staircase to the second level. We were immediately greeted with a calming wooden interior with the beautiful sounds of the guzheng (Chinese zither).
It was like we were being transported into a different time and space. A place where you can leave your worries and anxiety at the door. Pure tranquility.
How it works is each person is charged a cover rate of $8 with which you can use to purchase the teas you like. We picked a golden Osmanthus Tea ($16) from Fu Jian in China to share.
We had the option of preparing the tea on our own, or having a tea ceremony demonstration which we gladly accepted. I’ve always been fascinated by the best way to enjoy tea and this was especially enlightening.
The tea came in rolled, full leaves which smelled so divine! There were also two drinking cups and two teapots. The longer narrow cups you see in the bottom right of the picture are for sampling the aroma of teas. And the wider, rounder ones are for tasting.
Half a packet here is enough leaves for two, for 5 rounds of brewing. Osmanthus tea is best brewed for only 30 seconds the first time. And add 5 seconds subsequently each time to extract the best flavour from the tea.
After brewing in one pot, the tea is then poured into a resting pot so it will not keep steeping in the leaves. The golden yellow tea is then poured into the narrow cup up till 70% full so we could inhale the aromas. After that, the same tea is poured into the wider tea cup for drinking.
A cool tip we learnt was that after emptying the sampling cup, you could rub the narrow cup between your palms till cool. And when you inhale again, there would be a caramel, almost honey-like fragrance on top of the tea’s flavours. We tried it and it really worked!
This is the colour from the first brew. Perfectly clear, and delicate. Osmanthus is one of my favourite fragrances when it comes to tea.
While we enjoyed the tea, our Dragon Well Noodles ($7) was served.
Presumably translated from Longjing Tea, the broth was light, wholesome and had a beautiful slightly bitter flavour from the tea leaves. The vermicelli together with some vegetarian fish cakes and meat balls was just so nourishing and we loved that there was no MSG or too much salt.
We also ordered a Dim Sum Platter ($4) served with two siew mais and two meat dumplings.
The dumplings were overcooked, but the siew mai was delicious. Again this was served with no sauces so the meal does not overwhelm the tea. I usually like heavier flavours in food, but this was a really great change.
And then, came the white fluffy Char Siew Buns ($4).
I’m not really a fan of pork buns in general but this really hit the spot. The sweet, honeyed pork filling was just the right balance of sweet and savoury, and the pastry was SO fluffy it actually felt light. Look at that mouthwater glistening goodness!
And because mummy is such a big fan of osmanthus jelly, we decided to go with the Jelly Platter ($10) which features three types of tea jellies.
From right, Osmanthus jelly, Red Dates and Wolfberry, and Lychee tea jelly.
All were only lightly sweetened and got progressively sweeter from right to left. It went perfectly with the tea and was a lovely, refreshing end to the meal.
We sat for hours, languishing in the ambience, sunlight and each other’s company. It wasn’t just a treat for our happy tummies, but also for the soul. It really does feel like for a minute, you’re just aware of the present. And not worrying too much about anything else at all. And that, to me, is absolutely priceless.
There is a also a tea shop next door where you can learn about and explore an amazing variety of black, red, green and yellow teas.
Tea chapter is a real gem, and I do recommend visiting if not to gain an education about teas, then just to relax and enjoy the beauty of life.
Address: 9 & 11 Neil Road, Singapore 088808
Phone: Tea House (+65) 6226 1175 / (+65) 6226 1917
Retail Shop (+65) 6226 3026Fax(+65) 6221 0604