It seems like quite a number of MediaCorp artistes, especially variety show hosts, are moving into the F&B business.
Other than Mark Lee, Pornsak, Dennis Chew, and Ben Yeo who all met with relative success in this industry, it seems like Vivian Lai 赖怡伶 (gosh, I still remember her mermaid days) has also ventured into something different.
Why not, after hosting THAT many food programmes?
Bubble Tea seems like the most obvious answer since Singaporeans are currently having the boba fever.
Vivian is co-owner of Teabrary 小茶識, a takeaway tea kiosk at Esplanade Xchange – apparently quite popular with the lunchtime crowd already. (Disclosure: the drinks are a treat from Vivian after we finished filming a food programme right across the road at Suntec City.)
“Teabrary” is a combination of the words “tea” and “library”, to represent the brand’s emphasis on the different types of quality tea used in the making.
Raw materials are processed in plants and facilities in Taiwan, then imported to Singapore.
Other than Singapore, there are plans to expand further into Taiwan and Cambodia (there are already outlets there).
Upon entering the baby blue and white shop, you would notice a rather extensive menu, with categories of Premium Tea, Milk Tea, Chessiato (cheese foam), Brown Sugar Pearls, Fresh Fruitty, Dessert Teas, and Cold Brew Teas. (Okay, some of the items may remind you of Nayuki’s.)
While Bubble Teas have gotten more-expensive of late, the pricing here are kept from $3 to $6.50, with most drinks hovering about the $4.50 mark.
My personal favourite happened to be the Premium Taiwan Jin Xuan ($3.80) cold-brew tea served in a convenient take-away bottle.
This tea is sometimes known as “milk oolong” (or nai xiang) because the taste is light, flowery and yet also subtlety creamy.
If you are the type who loves kosong and crave for something healthier, then this is for you.
The Premium Green Tea Chessiato ($4.50) was surprisingly delicious too, made with matcha from Uji and so you get a touch of the lingering bitterness.
Creamy, surprisingly not too sweet, but can be too heavy to finish the entire cup on your own.
Since Brown Sugar Milk Tea is all in the rage now, I ordered the Brown Sugar Pearl Milk ($4.80) for some form of comparison.
While I kind of liked the delicate saltiness in the caramel (just a tinge), I thought that the pearls could have been cooked softer and sweeter.
Dessert teas packaged in attractive bottles are quite popular in Taiwan, but not that commonly found in Singapore YET.
Teabrary serves up Milk Tea with pudding, strawberry jelly, ume jelly and crème cheese. While they can be slightly tricky to consume, I am sure people will get them purely for the bottles.
Teabrary has also opened by Holland Village within Taste Gourmet Market and Raffles Holland V Mall.
The new and exclusive drink to try at the TEABAR is the Cendol Milk Tea with Coconut Gula Melaka Sweet Cream ($6.90). The base is malty Assam milk tea topped with uniquely crafted Coconut Gula Melaka sweet cream.
This TEABAR outlet also serves up Singapore’s first nitro bubble tea (using cold-brewed tea with nitrogen) together with sweet cream flavours including The Original (Vanilla), Lemon-li-cious, Azuki “Hong Dou” Beans, Strawberry Goodness, and Distinctly Lemongrass.
Esplanade Xchange B1-12 1 Raffles Blvd, Singapore 039593
Opening Hours: 11am – 7:30pm (Mon – Fri, Sun), 12pm – 8:30pm (Sat)
Teabar by Teabrary
Taste Gourmet Market, Basement 1, Raffles Holland V Mall, 118 Holland Avenue
Opening Hours: 11am – 8:30pm (Mon – Sun)