Quisine’s Spotlight Series takes an inside look at the food and beverage industry by speaking with the folks who know it best – restaurant owners, chefs and managers. Join us every week as we get the inside scoop on the best restaurants in your neck of the woods.
Our chat with Ivan from Arteastiq
For this Spotlight interview we spoke to Ivan Teo, director of Arteastiq Singapore boutique tea house and now bistro & bar. The Arteastiq Singapore name itself is a portmanteau of art and tea and, inside Mandarin Gallery along Orchard Road, it caters to discerning tea-drinkers looking for modern tea blends. Meanwhile, a little further down Orchard Road, Arteastiq Bistro & Bar offers a menu featuring soul-comforting and wholesome food that we love.
What made you choose this line of work? What inspires you?
I actually stumbled into the food and beverage (F&B) industry by accident in 2010. Our flagship Arteastiq Singapore branch at Mandarin Gallery used to be a luxury furniture store retailing furniture I designed, with only a small area by the window designated to serving tea. But, with good reviews for our tea, I saw potential for converting the entire furniture outlet into a boutique tea house and now a fully-fledged restaurant with an attached art jamming studio to serve a wider range of customers.
As an interior designer, I draw inspiration from unique and functional design in everyday life as well as on my travels. I try my best to incorporate this into our Arteastiq branches as well as other in-house F&B brands such as Cajun on Wheels and Paper Rice.
What do you feel your restaurant adds to the Singapore dining scene?
In Singapore, where coffee has always been more popular, we were one of the only ones who chose to focus on serving tea. We have a total of 80 teas and an all-day dining menu that is designed around our teas, rather than the other way round.
We might also be one of the first to incorporate an additional lifestyle aspect into an otherwise conventional dining experience. The art jam studio adds a social element to Arteastiq Singapore as we are seen as a place to hang out and have fun with family and friends.
What has been the biggest business challenge for your restaurant?
The main challenges we face are securing and retaining employable talents as well as coping with rising overhead business costs. But we are blessed with a large group of loyal customers who continue to support and motivate us through good times and bad.
Where do you see the future of dining out or the restaurant scene in general?
I believe local customers are becoming more sophisticated and crave a more curated dining experience that extends beyond just the taste of the food. Customers are likely to sieve through all the choice available and gravitate towards places which offer a more sophisticated experience. Off-the-plate elements such as the interior design of a restaurant, lighting, background music and even the table setting, cutleries and plates will all count for more.
Is there a dish on your menu that you’re most proud of and is there a story behind it?
Rather than a dish, I’m most proud of our signature lychee tea which we’ve coined as the Jewel of Teas. As one of the first seven teas we served to our first customers eight years ago, lychee tea remains our most popular beverage out of over 80 in-house varieties. Like the curry puff for Old Chang Kee and the pork floss buns for Breadtalk, we are confident that Arteastiq’s lychee tea is what is going to shepherd our brand beyond the shores of Singapore and into the world.
Feel like trying Arteastiq Singapore boutique tea room at Mandarin Gallery or Arteastiq Bistro & Bar…