As I write the blog, I feel a sense of nostalgia for Taipei, the city where I last visited in 2018. It has been a while, and I miss the food and warm interactions with the people in Taiwan. It feels so good to hear that we can soon travel to Taiwan without having to quarantine!
And so here’s a blog post brought to you by my brother who’s currently based in Taipei to help you get your to-go list ready!
When we talk about Taiwan, it is impossible to skip its tea culture. Taiwan’s colonial past has resulted in its vibrant tea history. And that inspired [ tei ] by O’Bond as a tea bar to present the uniqueness of Taiwanese tea through its cocktails. So if you love tea and cocktails, bookmark this place!
Upon entering the main entrance, guests will pass through a dark alley before reaching the tea reception area. The interior is calm and minimalist, with a nostalgic atmosphere that replicates a zen state of mind just like visiting a tea house.
The first thing a guest would notice upon arrival was the tea room with an interior set-up that replicates a pavilion in a park. Expect a “Tea Serving Ceremony”, or “Feng Cha” (奉茶) session which serves as a nod to Taiwan’s once-ubiquitous veterans’ village culture – Juan Cun Village culture. (眷村文化). In the olden days, Juan Cun Villages would provide complimentary tea for its visitors. This is part of a collective memory of the daily life of Taiwanese people that symbolises the warm hospitality that the bar wishes to preserve.
The bar pays utmost attention to its interior design. Every detail has been carefully thought through. I liked that the Japanese-inspired wabi-sabi interior infused with the warm & nostalgic atmosphere of a Taiwanese tea house.
Paying tribute to the Taiwanese tea culture, the bar menu features 19 tea-based cocktails that are cleverly extracted and layered up with various spirits and interesting ingredients. Helmed by Tom Liu, the La Maison Cointreau International Champion in 2019, visitors would appreciate each tea varietal’s nuances through the team’s interpretation and infusions of their cocktails.
No.4 Longjing Green Tea 龍井綠茶
A concoction of rum, papaya, plum vinegar and green peppercorn. You’d notice a distinctly fruity and tropical sweetness from ripe papaya at your first sip, an unexpected vinegary kick from the plum vinegar follows, then subsequently, the drink mellows down with a hint of the spicy, woody flavour of the peppercorns. A well-delivered drink with varying layers of flavours.
No. 7 Calendula Oolong Tea 金盞花烏龍茶
For those who fancy floral and herb taste profiles, No.7 is a gin cocktail with a mixture of mead, Cocchi Americano, Skinos, and Yellow Chartreuse. The lychee and fermented honey make a wonderful sweet accent to the drink, while the herbal notes and a touch of saltiness from Skinos keep the drink from becoming cloying.
No. 16 Assam Black Tea 阿薩姆紅茶
A fun variation from Bloody Mary. Tabasco and fermented tomato were used to create the savoury, spicy drink that we all recognize, Mount Gay Rum XO for that delectable salted caramel aroma, and Vermouth for that bit of depth and balance. This version is less heavy and features an aromatic aftertaste.
A great amount of time and attention was also spent on their food menu, with a fine selection of ingredients that pair well with the tea cocktails while paying homage to the Taiwanese culture and roots.
Tea Oil Pepper Seed Chicken Breast Noodle 茶油辣子 • 五辛 • 雞胸 • 月見麵條 is a chilled udon noodle dish with sous vide chicken breast marinated with Oolong tea seed oil & pepper seed. We love the fragrance of tea seed oil, the richness from the sous vide poached egg yolk that coats the al-dente noodles and the tender-soft chicken breast. The pickled radish with osmanthus on the side added a pleasant acidity, sweetness and umami flavour.
Jasmine Tea Shao Xing Drunken Chicken Breast 香片• 紹興酒• 63度雞胸 is the chef’s recreation of the classic Shao Xing Drunken Chicken. The Jasmine tea-scented dish is pleasant and refreshing to the palate.
Another eye-catching dish on the menu is the Pidan Tofu Sous Vide Pork Loin 皮蛋•豆腐•舒肥豬里肌 that came in the form of a thick soup. This creamy, chilled soup dish made of fermented duck eggs, tofu and sous vide pork loin is rather provocative and unconventional but surprisingly tasty. Only for those who are adventurous!
Writer’s Note: [ tei ] by O’Bond is a stylish tea bar that exudes old-school Juan Cun Village & zen-like tea house charm. We like that the bar incorporates local flavours into its menu for a unique Taiwanese tea-themed bar experience. The space is well thought-out, and we love their progressive & ambitious cocktail menu, as well as the innovative food selection. Definitely a gem to visit in Taipei! Reservations only, no walk-ins.
[ tei ] by O’Bond
No. 553, Guangfu S Rd, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan
Operating Hours: 8 pm – 2 am
Photographs by: Wind Tay