Théatre — Beijing, China
Tea-houses tend to conjure images of musty, hemmed-in rooms overcrowded with shelves of dusty tea tins and jars.
In Théatre, the Shanghai-based Sò Studio has, with consummate ease, ditched all the tired old tropes to conceive, instead, a light, pastel-hued cocoon that, if you didn’t notice the pots of tea on tables, you might otherwise mistake for a swish spa.
Tucked away on the fourth floor of Beijing’s tony Wangfu Central mall, the tea house reveals itself like a slow-burn, its façade of frosted glass panels and creamy drapes opening into an elongated room divided by floating planters, Cassina furniture, and curved walls. Pairing pastry chef Lily Zhang’s delicately wrought orange chiffon cake and and cherry mousse tart is a menu of some 70 teas sourced from plantations in Fujian, Yunan and Dimbula.
Somewhat unexpectedly, a bijou bar sits at the far end of the tea house – a particularly thoughtful alternative should you find yourself in need of a drink stronger than an oolong.§