Fine Tea Allusion (1)

I was first introduced to this chain of restaurants by an Australian friend who is a tea lover. The place was nice, even fanciful, but a tad too high class for me. However, I found it intriguing. Having lived overseas before where I learnt to enjoy a good cuppa, I thought the initials ‘TWG’ referred to Twinings, the famous tea family. But this was not the case. It had nothing to do with Twinings. Then I thought the date 1837 was the date the company came about. But that was not the case either. It was the year that a tea treaty was signed. It had nothing to do with the company and since there was no ‘since’ before 1837, it had nothing to do with the start year either, just an impression of it. Next was their tagline – best teas of the world and not in the world – a subtle difference in words that indicate that they mainly or perhaps only source for good tea as opposed to producing them.

I was curious. How does a company whose founders do not seem to have come from tea-related backgrounds, grow a chain of ‘high-class’ restaurants and tea boutiques to the level that they are now well-known for, domestically and internationally? By creating a perception of a fine brand that bears some resemblance to something that is actually fine and well-known, mixing it with a discerning nose and palate that enables them to add to their growing collection of teas that now number in the hundreds and providing a fine dining experience for both flat- and well-heeled customers alike over a fine cuppa tea, served by white-tie, good butler-looking and well-groomed staff. And ensuring that the myriad names of teas, packaging and design of all the tea products and stores are consistent with the image of a fine brand.

On the afternoon that we visited recently, we were going to attend an afternoon matinee musical and decided to have our lunch at TWG.

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The truffle fries were great. The wagyu beef burger was not. It just didn’t have the taste of a succulent juicy burger. For a wagyu burger, I expected better taste, which was not the case.

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The scones were lovely and part of a brunch set that my friend ordered. The bread that came with the set was lovely too. These would be the items to order, with a pot of tea, of course!

Judging from how well this chain is doing, it looks like all is well with The Wellness Group (whose acronym is TWG); a case of a company who has done very well by alluding to a well-known tea brand at first sight and then, growing the business exponentially from there. It has virtually cornered the fine teas market in Singapore.

The restaurant we went to was TWG Tea Garden, Marina Bay Sands.

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