Ami Sugiyama & her team of Japanese & Malaysian 'tea sommeliers' are brewing a unique experience in Damansara Uptown, eager to introduce more locals in the Klang Valley to the nuances of Japanese tea. Serving a stimulating range of tea from Shizuoka, Tea Press is meant to be a casual venue where uninitiated customers won't feel intimidated - sit at the counter, order from an easy-to-interpret menu, & watch as the team goes through the soothing process of preparing your beverages.
The selection spans basic green tea & beyond, with variations like genmaicha & hojicha, plus tea blended with citrus elements (mildly tangy) or with raspberries & cranberries, or with cinnamon & chilli (toasty but not spicy). Each pot, which supplies several pourings of tea, costs between RM10 & RM12. Note: Tea Press plans to open a second outlet next year in Subang.
The tea's lovely to sip on its own, with simultaneously pure but multifaceted flavours. Tea Press also takes a contemporary tack with options like espresso-style hojicha (RM10; this has a bit of a 'burnt' taste) & a tea smoothie mixed with avocado (RM15; it's mellow). Might be fun to experiment with trying different varieties to figure out your preferences for Japanese tea.
A compact menu of hot, rice-heavy meals complements the tea: classic comfort fare like mackerel-topped ochazuke (RM20, served with Japanese pickles, egg & simmered veggies), onigiri with fillings like ginger chicken or salmon (RM25) & chimaki sticky rice dumplings wrapped with lotus leaves & stuffed with chicken & mushrooms (RM20). The food aims for authenticity.
No absence of desserts: Our favourite is the sakura mochi rice cake with a red bean paste centre, presented in an edible cherry blossom leaf (RM5) - enjoyably glutinous, with resonant flavours. There are also warabimochi bracken starch jelly covered with sweet soybean flour (RM7), crunchy rusk-style biscuits in flavours like green tea, caramel or cinnamon, an interesting daifuku mochi that conceals a fresh white grape inside (RM5), as well as green tea anpan bread rolls with red bean paste (RM5; ours was overheated a little; if that happens, wait for it to cool slightly).
Tea Press Japanese Roasters
46G, Jalan SS 21/39, Damansara Uptown, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Open Tues-Sun, 11am-9pm
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