Who would’ve thought that heading to an Asian tea lounge could be so cool. That it’s possible to drink a pot of sencha and want to get down on a dance floor at the same time.
What David Yip has done is create a place we’ve been waiting for. It fills the gap in Sydney’s dining scene with a venue that offers perfectly brewed tea and unique food. When S and I arrived at 5:45pm for an early dinner, almost all the tables were reserved so we were seated at the bar. This wasn’t a bad place because we got to witness the flaming Matcha Lava Bomb ordered by the girls next to us, and cocktails involving dry ice and a ferris wheel.
When I first heard of One Tea Lounge, I was sceptical. I knew about the ramen burger that made its way into the hearts of Sydneysiders at the Night Noodle Markets (2013)… but I didn’t try it out then. Instead, my friend and I had xiao long bao. Now fast forward almost two years, and mini ramen burgers are sitting right in front of me. Still, I didn’t know what to expect.
We had a ramen burger with wagyu beef, another one with braised pork rib, and a matcha one with teriyaki chicken. They all tasted delicious! The crispy noodle bun worked well with the strong flavours of our fillings – I believe “pretty good” was how I described it on the night. I was intrigued by the matcha burger, which actually tasted quite plain. Maybe it was so because we had it last, but this wasn’t a particularly bad thing because matcha and teriyaki just didn’t sound like a match made in heaven.
Finally, we couldn’t leave without trying the ice cream baogers – black sesame (L) and lychee (R). These reminded me slightly of deep-fried ice cream, which is the best dessert! The baoger was difficult to eat as normal burger because the ice cream spills out the sides as soon as you press down on it. You could try cutting it up and having it in a deconstructed way, as I did. Messy? Perhaps a little, but it’s definitely worth it. If only there was a large baoger just for one; that would make us dessert fiends very happy.
Apart from the interesting dishes we tried, the service stood out for us. We didn’t wait long for the food, and waitresses kept asking me if I wanted a refill of my sencha (a maximum of three times). One Tea Lounge had an incredible atmosphere and I wanted to spend the rest of my life drinking tea there. It was impressive. However, as we had life to get back to, that fantasy quickly vanished from my mind. So we left the lounge, feeling great, stress-free and energised for another week.