What caught my attention was when I first saw the ambience this place has to offer in 8 days last year. The first impression obtained from TWG's dining area is the neatly arranged old-fashioned painted tea containers in the warm timber cupboards. Adopting a Continental-style dining atmosphere with the use of Bone China dinnerware, TWG aims to bring tea drinking to a different level.
Flipping through the tea menu presents an astonishing selection of more than 300 varieties and blends from around the world and the fine concoction of in-house blends such as floral white tea and chocolate tea are only exclusively available at TWG.
The tea are served in uniquely designed teapots. To ensure that the tea is warm even after 1 hour, the Bone China teapot is housed in a shiny metallic casing, cushioned on the interior with black fabric to prevent heat loss. All the fine details to tea brewing such as the temperature of the water, the seeping time and its timing to remove the tea leaves are carefully monitored to maintain consistency of flavour. What surprises me was the use of cotton filters and the release of tannins beyond each tea's seeping time contribute greatly to the outcome of the taste. These gourmet teas are also not served with milk and only pure crystalized sugar are used to ensure the unalteration of taste. Extreme acidic lemon slices are a definite no-no but Mr. Aum-Stievenard recommended orange slices as a less-acidic option.
Apart from the teas, we are also keen about the cakes and patisseries. What makes it different from other places is that most of the bakes are uniquely infused with tea. In fact, Executive Chef Philippe Langlois has been attributed with the invention of tea gastronomy in France. So there is no way we are going to miss out the tea infused macarons as well as the Singapore Surprise, which are extremely popular.
Since we have no clues of what to have, we have settled with a Celebration tea time set ($28++) which comes with
- a pot of TWG Tea (of your choice),
- a selection of four fine finger sandwiches,
- a choice of 2 homemade tea pastries (selection ranges from Earl Grey infused Madeleine, Matcha Tea infused Financiers, Muffins or Scones) or 1 patisserie
- a choice of 3 macarons (see previous post for the flavours)
The assortment of finger sandwiches includes foie gras, smoked salmon, shrimp and crab mayonnaise served with green salad and house vinaigrette. The wholemeal bread is lightly toasted with slight nutty crisp crust and has a soft inner part. According to the staff, the bread is freshly baked by the chef daily. The fillings were lightly marinated and the moisture content was just right to prevent the bread from turning soggy.
Instead of choosing 2 tea pastries, we have settled with TWG specialty, a wild strawberry and pastry cream tart, Singapore Surprise ($8.50++). This is highly recommended for its refreshing and strong vanilla mousse which is the result of the vanilla Bourbon tea. The torched caramelized sugar eaten together with the vanilla mousse and berries has just a good mixture of sweetness, sourishness and a punch of vanilla. The tart pastry to complete the contrasting texture is worth every bit of your $8.50.
For the macarons, we have originally settled with the 3 recommended flavours, Napoleon tea (Black), Rose and Praline (Dark brown) but Mr. Aum-Stievenard was kind enough to allow us to sample all 6 flavours. A complete breakdown of each flavours can be found here.
TWG TEA Chocolate Fondant ($10++), is a melting chocolate cake served with a light caramel cream infused with vanilla Bourbon Tea. Mysteriously, this bears close resemblance to the sticky date pudding except that it was covered with chocolate. This should be eaten hot or the sticky feeling may be a put off. The combination of caramel, chocolate and tea was a little extreme for our taste buds and poor Yuan couldn’t really make out what he was eating.
Instead of the regular Crème Brulee ($10++), this is a refreshing twist to the traditional French Confection where Jasmine Imperial Tea is introduced. In a way, the introduction of tea into this dessert, makes it a little less sweet than the usual ones.
All in all, this was indeed an eye-opening experience for us, particularly when we are introduced alittle to tea processing and tea brewing. Definitely looking forward to our next chi-chi high tea session or should I say dinner given the time we reached the place.
Anyway, Timeless Facade happens to have an entry on TWG Tea Restaurant last Saturday.
TWG Tea Salon & Boutique
9 Raffles Place, #01 - 22
Tel: 6538 1837