As a hard core foodie, I do go into week long vegetarian diets to kind of cleanse out my body from all the over eating of fatty meats and when I was on my recent vegetarian diet, I came across the very interesting Tea Villa Café located along East Coast road.
Nestled upon the whole row of restaurants, cafes and shops, some might easily walk past Tea Villa Café with many other famous outlets on the same street like the Kim Choo dumplings as well as the Bird of Paradise ice cream. At first glance, the name of the restaurant might remind one of a café selling only tea but in fact they carry much more
The layout of the restaurant is pretty narrow due to the shape of the shop houses so the first floor houses a limited number of tables as most of the space is taken up by the center island where the beverage counter and cashier is located
I was led to the 2nd floor which open up to a more spacious space with more tables and the décor reminds me of those colourful palaces in India when I visited a few years back. The bright blue walls with the unique dome arches and windows definitely makes for a very nice photo backdrop
In terms of the menu, they actually serve Western cuisines like burgers, sandwiches as well as Italian dishes like pasta, risotto and pizza and even Mexican snacks and bites like nachos and tacos. If you prefer something more Asian, they also serve Indian vegetarian dishes like dal and biryani and Indian Chinese cuisine like fried rice. One section that caught my eye was the Lebanese section which is not that common in a vegetarian restaurant. The sweet tooth people will be glad to know that they also serve desserts like waffles, pancakes and ice cream
Something worth mentioning is that they actually have a separate menu for their tea and the range they offer is extremely huge. The variety that they offer almost made me believe I was in a Tea lounge that specializes in selling tea
Just to give an idea, there is at least 10 kinds of selection dedicated to one type of tea and they offer Green tea, white tea, black tea, herbal tea, floral tea and some special blends. Any tea-holics will be elated as this is simply like tea heaven
Our lunch party all ordered a different kind of tea and each comes in a huge glass pot with hot water refillable. When the tea is being served, the server also brings along a sandglass timer to ensure that we let the tea leaves soak for enough time so that the tea we drink is at optimal flavour. I ordered one of the herbal blends for some of the healthy notions but my personally feedback is that these are not for beginner tea drinkers as these herbal blends tend to be more bitter with an acquired taste
A very popular starter, the Villa special hummus platter which has fresh classic , beetroot and cilantro hummus and garlic mayonnaise served with pita and lavish bread and salad. Personally, I liked the cilantro and classic hummus as the taste was very smooth and the cilantro had a light kick. The beetroot and garlic mayonnaise was quite milky and did not have enough flavour for me. The salad and quinoa was also very refreshing with the pita and crackers. The brown bitesize falafels snack which is deep fried was very good as it had a nice crunch and yet not oily
The other popular item is the mac and cheese pizza which had 4 types of cheese jalapeno and macaroni. The pizza takes about 20 mins to make as orders are made fresh so make sure to order this the moment you sit down while you look through the menu. The pizza is thin crust with a nice crispy dough and generous amount of cheese. The pizza is definitely good except for the jalapeno which was quite a weird addition to the pizza in my opinion. It doesn’t taste bad with the jalapeno as it gives alight kick amongst all that cheese but it just somehow did not match up mentally but I would say that this is worth a try
The next item we ordered was the basil risotto which is cooked in basil pesto with sundried tomatoes and topped with parmesan cheese. Some people might be put off by the bright green colour of the risotto but it is really quite a light version of risotto. While it has the same creamy texture as other risotto, it is much lighter in terms of flavour as the basil cuts out the overwhelming richness of most risotto dishes. As a basil fan, I would have liked the basil flavour to be much stronger.
Although we only ordered 3 dishes, the food was very filling due to the cream and cheese used in most of the dishes. Overall, I really liked the environment of the restaurant especially the 2nd floor as it was quiet and peaceful and we could have a relaxed conversation while the first floor is a bit more noisy with the bustling street and customers. In terms of food, I find some of the options really interesting and tasty. While the standard of food is not Michelin styled standard, the Tea Villa Café provides simple satisfying dishes for anytime of the day. For tea-holics, this is also a place to try out all the tea from all over the world
Address: 97 E Coast Rd, Singapore 428794
Operating hours: 11 am to 9 pm ( closed on Mon)