Like a contemporary tea apothecary, Yugen Tea Bar launches Wednesday, November 17th, re-imagining our experience, understanding and emotional connection with tea. With a curated list of over forty speciality teas from ten different countries, this exquisite retail and hospitality destination is the brainchild of Culinary Director Stephen Nairn and his team. Together with tea sommelier Thibaut Chuzeville and pastry wizard John Demetrios, they have created an elegant tea destination, the first of its kind in Melbourne. The launch also spearheads the reawakening of the Capitol Grand restaurant and bar rollout previously scheduled for the fated 2020. Yugen Tea Bar is a stand-alone destination that is an element of Yugen Restaurant, due to open February 22. The Capitol Grand portfolio currently includes Omnia Bistro & Bar, Runaway Studio and Bromely & Co event spaces.
Yugen Tea Bar will explore the world of tea from four different continents. Thibaut's encyclopedic knowledge can be experienced through the multiple tea varieties he has sourced (many exclusively) for our enjoyment. His research takes us on a journey encompassing China, Taiwan, Japan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Georgia, Malawi, Australia and New Zealand. In a city famed for coffee worldwide, Yugen Tea Bar introduces a groundbreaking new approach to tea, a contrast between modernity and the ancient, a moment of zen in a futuristic environment.
“Tea gently brews”, explains Thibaut, “the fix is not instantaneous. We sip quietly, listening to water pour and inhale the different aromas, feeling the cup, the warmth in our hand. It fills the body with caffeine but relaxes the soul simultaneously. Yugen Tea bar is a place to refresh, re-energise, enjoy, eat, drink and shop”.
Executive Pastry Chef John Demetrios has created a decadent range of patisserie and confectionery to enjoy alongside the tea. Each delicacy will play an accompanying role, whether you are simply enjoying a moment with your favourite brew or one of the three 45 minutes ‘Tea Experiences' that take you on a tasting journey of Oolong, Japan or The Story of Tea. With such a wide variety of styles on offer, the tea service will be authentic and respectful to each region but not traditional in style.
Initially open during the day from 12pm to 5pm, evening service will begin in December, with tea cocktails being added to the mix. The December evening opening will also see the introduction of an ever-changing dessert degustation menu, exploring the playfulness and craftsmanship of Chef John Demetrios.
Interior designer Lucienne of Curious By Design intends for the room to further evoke the senses by displaying multiple tea experiences in an elegant yet dramatic cave-like environment. The textures and forms are exaggerated within the space, enveloping you from the moment you enter. Multiple shades of rich greys, silvers and black are used to enhance the calming sensory tea experience. The delicate pastries and bejeweled like bonbons are revealed in the rock formation like mini treasures.