Cafe of the Month: Tam Art Cafe
Written by Ruairidh MacDonald
We’re back in business, and busyness! Well, obviously cafes have been back in action for basically a month now, making my previous non-café café review article a bit embarrassing, but hopefully some of you took the opportunity to step away from the hurly burly of bricks & mortar eating and instead discover the delights of eating al grasso.
This month however we’re back to real, physical cafes, and as a thoroughly undeservéd treat for this edition we’ve picked a café very close to the Tay Ho Times’ homeground, located in…Tay Ho! What are the chances. I know almost every single café in Tay Ho has been visited, explored and analysed beyond measure, but I’m hoping I’ve found an exception. If not, you can come throw rocks at my house (and by “house” I mean single room apartment).
Before jumping in, there’s another difference. Having received critical feedback from an avid fan (i.e. my mum), I’ve noticed a trend in my articles of heavily reviewing a café’s location and design, but touching rather lightly on the actual beverages they serve. This month will be different! I’ll ditch the design talk, partly because there’s not much too talk about, but mostly because there’s a grand total of two drinks I want to talk about. I know, two! Hold onto your hats.
But firstly, the location. As you’ll see on google, Tam Art Café (whose name means silkworm) is found on one of those quasi-islands/peninsulas near the Intercontinental, and the café’s front entrance in fact faces directly out at the hotel. Parking and approaching is interesting because there’s no road to get you to the entrance, and barely an alley either; it’s a narrow footpath with an unguarded little drop down to the lake on your right. Steady with those handlebars!
Once you do find it: the front wall is high and the gate small, so the first moment of entering is a wonderful, sudden immersion in their rich, leafy secret garden. There’s a narrow winding path leading you through this little oasis of green, which even has a few trees of edible fruit for picking (try the “junior” apples, very sweet and light), and brings you to the art gallery on the ground floor and ordering drinks up the spiral stairs. That’ll do on the design talk, as I said it’s not the main show this time.
Instead, I’ll actually tell you about some of the drinks! This is a new experience for me, so go easy. The two drinks I recommend are: blueberry smoothie and vanilla tea. Order the blueberry smoothie and you’ll be presented with a very purple, very vivid, quite ice-creamy extravaganza of sweetness, perfect for a zing of the spirits. Or, order the vanilla tea and discover that the tag of ‘blandness’ which vanilla sometimes bears is very wrong. This was a really delicate yet intriguing tea for me, quite floral and unlike what I usually associate with the smell of vanilla pods or seeds. It’s made with real vanilla flowers too, how about that!
There’s more to the café than just those two drinks though. Go for a relaxing nestle in the mini jungle, a wee peek at the artwork and perhaps a wry chuckle at all the eager young instagrammers.
Tam Art Cafe: Nr 14 Alley 5 Tu Hoa, Tay Ho | facebook.com/tamartcafehanoi/