I can’t remember precisely when I first had Japanese green tea (also known as matcha), but I’ve always enjoyed the rich, slightly bitter flavour of the beverage. Better yet, I love green tea-flavoured sweets, desserts, and ice-creams, where the matcha often balances nicely with sugary noms. So when my friend and fellow foodie Ruby told me about ONE tea lounge & grill, a recent Japanese fusion addition to Sydney’s restaurant scene wherein most dishes contain an element of green tea, we both decided to check it out.
The restaurant’s interior is a little too “modern” for my tastes, with the music blasting away a little too loudly, but I’m weird and old-fashioned in that way. After Ruby and I got chatting about noms (and she showed me how to use my camera!), the music and ambience just melded into the background.
We wanted to have a dessert-heavy meal (the best way to spend one’s evening), so we opted for a couple of nibbly things and a mocktail to share. The drinks all had funky names (my favourites being “Matcha Made in Heaven” and “Moteato”), and we decided on “The ONE Tea Experience”, which was chilled green tea with peach, lemon, and a hint of rose ($19). The cocktail version comes with Hendricks Gin ($37), but our bartender replaced it with orange juice and some apple, and it was sweet, fruity, and delicious.
According to Ruby, the fusion “Baogers” have been quite a hit in Sydney lately, so we had to go for three “Baoger” sliders ($20). You can mix and match your burgers/baogers and fillings, and we went for ramen burger with teriyaki chicken, rice burger with teriyaki chicken, and matcha baoger with miso tofu. The ramen burger just tasted like teriyaki chicken with ramen, but the matcha baoger was pretty cool–if I ever go back, I’ll probably have all three sliders with the matcha baoger.
We also tried out the “takocini”, which are takoyaki and arancini balls with green tea mayonnaise and bonito flakes ($9). I love my takoyaki and was quite excited, but the balls were a bit weird and rice-y, and I wasn’t a massive fan.
And of course, we had to have matcha fries, which we ordered with seaweed, and which came with a mildly spiced curry ketchup sauce ($7). Those were goooooood.
We ate pretty slowly, since all the nomming was punctuated by lots of talking (Sailormoon, Japan, Europe, baking, weddings, our mutual lack of exercise), which then gave our stomachs time to tell our brains we were actually quite full after all the food. But then it was time for dessert–which we’d already ordered–so we activated our second stomachs.
We got the Baoger ice-creams with green tea and lychee ($13)–these came wedged between two slabs of deep-fried goodness, and with some red beans (which Ruby doesn’t like, but I lovelovelove). These were glorious–I’d go back for more!
Because one dessert is definitely not enough, we also got a matcha lava bomb ($20), which was…super green tea-y. I enjoyed mine, but by this stage, we were both pretty full, and a little green-tea-ed out.
We’d planned to get some post-dessert ice-cream, but we were both so stuffed that waddling to the nearest train station was a bit of a struggle. Fortunately, Ruby and I are meeting in about two hours for a pre-dessert ice-cream–much more manageable. ;)
Visited on: Monday, 14 September 2015. Dinner.
Spent: $44 per person.
Overall: Great service (the bartender was particularly lovely), a relatively relaxed and “funky” atmosphere, and a very imaginative menu. Some of the fusion items didn’t work so well, whereas others were excellent. I’d definitely recommend this to those who love anything with green tea! 8.5/10.
This post was (unexpectedly) sponsored by Ruby. Thank you for your generosity, for sharing your photography knowledge, for your general awesomeness! :D
ONE tea lounge & grill
Monday – Wednesday: 11:00-15:00, 17:30-22:00; Thursday & Friday: 11:00-15:00, 17:30-0:00; Saturday: 17:30-0:00; Sunday: Closed