One Tea Lounge and Grill is a trendy and stylish bar in the heart of the CBD, situated conveniently near Wynyard Station and just blocks from Martin Place. Throughout the establishment, circle shaped decorations and fittings adorn it’s walls, ceilings and furnishings. The circle represents the circle of life and is a tribute to owner David Yip’s fiancé Daisy, who passed last year. The restaurant is a fulfilment of Daisy and David’s dream to have a restaurant in the hip location that is York Street. The restaurant has a green tea theme and roughly 80% of their menu has some form of Japanese green tea incorporated. Given the immense popularity of green tea these days (and the antioxidant health benefits!), this is a recipe for success!!
Our first cocktail was the Matcha Made in Heaven. Vodka, lime, Japanese Green Tea, Yuzu and finished with a spray of salted Nori. Wow! With an intense hit of green tea, this is definitely one for the match lovers out there. Whilst the matcha flavour is strong, it’s not so overpowering that you don’t get the citrus notes from the lime and yuzu. A very tasty cocktail, served in a beautiful Japanese Teapot.
We also tried the Made in Japan, which was Kakubin whiskey topped with housemade matcha soda, and the So Pre-Tea, cucumber, elderflower, citron vodka enhanced with a high of citrus and Gyokuru green tea. The favourite was the So Pre-Tea which was light, refreshing and tasty! A wonderful selection of green tea infused cocktails to set the scene for what was a showcase of innovative and unique Japanese green tea influenced dishes.
We started our meal with a few tasters that are designed to share. First up was the “Gyokuru Smoked Octopus Avocado”. This was one of my favourites of the night. It was presented in a cloche full of smoke to depit the smoky aspect of the dish. The smokiness was very evident in both the flavours and the aromas. The octopus was soft and tender and married beautifully with the creamy avocado. Definitely a highlight of the night.
Next came a variety of their signature sliders. Having commenced his foray into the world of food at the Night Noodle Markets with the famed ramen burger, David presented the ramen burger as a bite sized slider. A crunchy chewy concoction that brought back childhood memories of fried ramen. Other selections included the rice burger and the matcha baoger with fillings ranging from wagyu beef, braised pork rib, teriyaki chicken and miso tofu. The crowd pleasers were definitely the ramen burger (with beef) and the matcha baoger (with chicken). The bao was soft with a subtle green tea flavour – so unique, so good.
The salmon tartare with avocado, cucumber and tobiko was next. Light and refreshing, this was another crowd pleaser. Meaty cuts of salmon, creamy avocado and the popping tartness of the fish roe.
The Takocini is a fusion of the takoyaki ball and the arancini rice balls. Topped with green tea mayo and bonito flakes. Delicious! And again, so innovative. The taste remained true to the traditional takoyaki with the creamy flavours of the sea coming through very nicely. However, texturally, the crunchy rice encasing was true to the traditional arancini. A fantastic combination!
Our last share plate was the Crispy Lollipop. Nagoya style chicken with Szechuan pepper. Now this is fried chicken done right! Tender chicken drumettes, crunchy and delicious, with a slight kick from the peppers. Another one of our favourites!
The first main was a new menu item concocted by David himself in collaboration with his chef just days prior! The Flaming Wagyu Volcano was set alight at our table and literally shot up like an erupting volcano! A fantastic spectacle!!
The Flaming Wagyu Volcano is 9+ pieces of wagyu beef on a sizzling hotplate with wasabi teriyaki sauce and shimeji. The beef was tender and fatty with a beautiful sweet and savoury teriyaki glaze. Delicious and so moreish!
We then enjoyed some more 9+ cubes of wagyu beef with shimeji and enoki on a hot lava stone. It was served with 3 dipping sauces: matcha sea salt, green tea hollandaise and yakiniku sauce. My favourite was the matcha sea salt which allowed the flavours of the superb beef speak for itself. Fatty morsels of excellent quality meat.
Our last main was the green tea miso cod, served with seared scallops, seaweed, celeriac and lemon reduction. This was an excellent piece of fish, cooked perfectly. The flesh was flakey and moist with a sweet miso glaze with subtle hints of green tea, and beautifully presented with a distinct fine dining flair.
We were then treated to an elaborate showcasing of their cocktail ferris wheel! Their green tea cocktail is poured from a teapot into small Japanese sake cups as the ferris wheel spins.
Naturally with the added panache of liquid nitrogen at the base to create the atmosphere of a fog filled night on a ferris wheel. Brilliant! Another innovative idea from David and his crew!
Next we had what is possibly the most photographed dessert on social media! The ice cream baoger! Fried baogers with ice cream (green tea, black sesame, lychee and a layer of red bean). Another favourite I’m afraid! The bao was crunchy and warm and contrasted dramatically with the cold and soft ice cream. Absolutely delicious, and as a slider, you can easily eat two!!
Our last dessert was the matcha lava bomb. Matcha white chocolate lava cake with a molten centre, lit up with a shot of orange liqueur and served with fresh fruit, miso caramel and waffle flakes. Oh my lord that miso caramel. So decadent! And the lava cake passed the test as we cut it open to discover the oozy filling. Top marks, as so many places get this wrong!
Our dinner at One Tea Lounge and Grill was one of the most enjoyable nights we’ve had in a while. A combination of David Yip’s friendly and larger than life personality, the innovative and creative dishes that are executed perfectly, and the dramatic showcasing of all their dishes. You’re not just getting good food, you’re getting a show as well! This place is hip, it’s quirky and most of all, it’s fun.
One Tea Lounge & Grill
73 York Street,
Sydney CBD, NSW
Contributed by Susan, who dined as a guest on behalf of 2 Hungry Guys