Green Tea is touted to have many health benefits, like antioxidants, and…yeah whatever. To be honest, all I care about is that it’s so DAMNED DELICIOUS.
I know you feel me when I say matcha errthang.
Well, David – owner of One Tea Lounge and Grill – seems to feel the same way, using green tea as a component in 80% of the menu. Of course, it helps that his mum is an expert in the stuff, what with having her own store and all.
From drinks to food, just about everything is tinted a beautiful shade of Jade.
We were spoilt with David getting behind the bar to personally create our cocktails. Using matcha to create a green tea syrup, he then mixes it with tangy yuzu juice and other fruits to create a refreshing mix that’s served up in test tubes, with billowing dry ice for effect.
Food-wise, the small bites ranged from the more obvious Matcha Fries, which were topped with a green tea and nori mixture, to the more subtle Gyokuro smoked octopus with avocado. The octopus was creamy and rich, cut by a light smokiness, and the Popcorn Curry Chicken was a perfect snacking accompaniment to our cocktails.
The Takocini was a particular standout: part arancini (Italian rice balls coated and deep fried) and part takoyaki (Japanese Octopus balls made from a wheat flour batter and fried in a cast iron pan), these little morsels on a bed of green tea mayo was just all moreish. Also high on the so-addictive-it’s-like-crack scale, the Matcha Fries. Served with a curry sauce, it reminded me of my childhood in Singapore where Maccas had curry sauce available to be eaten with a seaweed flavoured bag of fries.
Because you ain’t done fast food till you’ve done Asian fast food.
On the mains front, they’ve got all the Japanese classics like Bentos, Sizzle Hotplates, and Wagyu Beef, all with a modern twist, of course.
The Ramen Burger has come a long way since I first tried it at the Night Noodle Markets. The noodle ‘buns’ are satisfyingly crunchy on the outside, and held together really well, even though the beef patty made it a touch too thick to eat as a burger.
For the rice lovers, the Black Pepper Unagi Bento features a soft green tea rice, that adds a very mild and complementary note of bitterness to the whole dish. Or if you prefer a one-dish rice thang, then the sizzling hotplate is something worth ordering. Owner David honestly states Pepper Lunch as his inspiration, and I think you can never have enough of a good thing. He’s changed it up by adding an egg pour, so that you get flecks of hotplate-fried egg through your sizzling rice! Add to that chilli pork and cheese, and you’ve got yourself a cold-weather winner.
And if you’re trying to impress someone – or potentially maim them, haha! – you have to go the Volcano Wagyu Beef. Beautifully marbled pieces of wagyu are seared on a hotplate, and served with a billowing volcano of FIRRRRREEEEEE…and red wine jus. But really, I’m a sucker for theatrics, and the pyrotechnics got me.
The desserts, too, have gotten the matcha treatment. The Matcha Lava Bomb is basically a lava cake that’s had a lovechild with a crepe suzette: the cake gets doused in orange liqueur and set on fire. Cause everything is better when it’s been set on fire.
To be brutally honest, the food, while good, isn’t super amazing. But the whole experience though, is a barrel of fun. David really understands what it means to be a diner, and he makes sure that everything from the service to the ambience is deliberate and thought out. It really speaks to the story behind One Tea Lounge – it’s dedicated to Daisy, David’s fiancee who passed away from cancer last year. It was always her dream to open a restaurant, and really provide the ‘hospitable’ in ‘hospitality’. And I respect that David is trying to carry out her dream.
I would recommend heading down to One Tea Lounge and Grill in a group – it’s much more fun that way. Otherwise, why not say hi to David at their Night Noodle Market stall? It’s not 100% confirmed, but if the previous years are any indication, they’ll be there. =)