Sitting at the Royal Bombay Yacht Club in Colaba, facing the majestic architecture of the Gateway of India, Sandeep Hathiramani and Gagan Gurung were discussing a new bar concept – a bar that would represent their Asian – Indian and Nepalese – identities. A cup of tea served as their inspiration for a bar that offers a collection of global teas by day and tea-infused cocktails by night. With that, Tell Camellia was born.
The “Camellia” in Tell Camellia is a tip to Camellia sinensis, the mother plant of all tea leaves. After having established their tea-inspired cocktails and introducing a new-age tea culture to Hong Kong, the duo has extended the concept to an afternoon tea bar. Drop by in the afternoon to enjoy a selection of hot- and cold- brew teas. The menu is concise but, surprisingly, still covers all the bases: black, green and non-caffeinated fruity teas.
First come the signatures serves ($45) – familiar names served in modern glassware. First up, masala chai with Parle-G biscuit, a malt biscuit beloved in India as the perfect tea accompaniment. I would suggest dunking the biscuit; there’s no other way to enjoy the combination.
Then comes Turkish Rize tea. Turns out, the Turks drink a lot of tea ( in addition to coffee!), and Rize, pronounced “Rizé”, is where it’s grown. It is the Darjeeling of Turkey, Sandeep told me. This ruby-red hue tea is served in a narrow-waisted tulip glass, with or without sugar.
Next on the menu is a curated list of signature teas ($45), each with its own story. Sandeep and Gagan have chosen to showcase unique, distinct teas, such as Manna tea from Georgia and a milk oolong tea from Taiwan that has no milk whatsoever, in addition to the crowd-pleasers of Darjeeling and Ceylon.
The teapresso ($30) is a play on an espresso, a 60ml shot of matcha packed with antioxidants. They also make cold-brew tea ($50), sans sugar, which is refreshing and light.
If Tell Camellia’s wonderful teas pique your interest enough to redo your tea cabinet, it may be best to wait for one of their monthly Tea Master workshops to learn more. If you’re there past six, you must stay on to try one of the bar’s famous tea cocktails.
LG/F, H Code, 45 Pottinger Street, Central, 9821 5501
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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