Words and photographs by Sarah Lim
Speak about Arteastiq, and its tea lounge at Mandarin Gallery instantly comes to mind. Recently, the good people behind this one-of-its-kind art jamming cum studio café have gone traditional with its new restaurant Arteastiq Tea Bone China at Millenia Walk.
The décor was effortlessly classy, bringing a sense of nostalgia without the tackiness. We were especially fascinated by the birdcages that dangled from the ceiling, an attempt to recreate the experiences of olden-day Chinese merchants who’d bird-watch while sipping pots of tea.
The hotpot menu is limited, with a choice of 3 soup bases – Bak Kut Teh ($5.50), Pork Bone ($6.50) or Ginseng Chicken ($8.80), and a selection of ingredients such as Sliced Salmon ($14.80), Kampong Chicken ($11.80) and Vegetables ($6.80).
We went for the pork bone soup, which was comforting and flavourful, if just a tad heavy-handed on the salt. The Sliced Beef ($12.80) which a at first glance looked fresh and promising, turned out to be sinewy and lacking in flavour. Vegetables are, well, vegetables. But they made for a feel-good meal together with a bowl of brown rice ($2), which was cooked with a mish-mash of vegetables and beans.
Apart from the hotpots, Arteastiq dishes up a variety of communal dishes, from the ubiquitous pan-fried Silver Cod Fish ($16.80) to the intriguing Crispy Tofu with Chicken and Avocado Cream ($12.80).
We enjoyed the Siew Mai ($4.80) from the dim sum menu, but found the signature Xiao Long Baos ($6.80) unremarkable. If there is one dish we’d return to Tea Bone China for, it is the Wanton with hot chilli sauce ($5.80). Sitting in a pool of sourish, slightly spicy Chinese vinegar were 6 plump, juicy prawn and pork dumplings encased in a silky wanton skin. These were remarkably satisfying.
Arteastiq’s attempt to recreate the hotpot experience fine-dining style is commendable, but would probably not please traditionalists looking for a hearty hotpot meal since portions are small. While the experience is worth a visit, the food is not. With so many other dining options at Millenia Walk, we doubt we will be hurrying back any time soon.
Arteastiq Tea Bone China
9 Raffles Boulevard
#02-19/20 Millenia Walk
Tel: +65 6333 5117
Sun to Thu: 11am – 11pm
Fri & Sat: 11am – 11pm