Tao is one of the newer concept cafes in Jalan
Padungan in Kuching with an emphasis on Taoism themes. The place has
been reviewed by other bloggers in Kuching before but fish fish [blogspot.com] who is a fellow food blogger, hasn’t been there yet, so we went there at 6 pm last night for drinks.
Tao Lifestyle Cafe and Gallery is painted a very
distinctive red, with a lot of glass and brass contrasting textures and
colors. There is a nice sandblasted sign right beside the door and the
door knob is fashioned into an open Buddha palm. The back of the door
has a wooden chime which produces a peaceful knocking sound upon entry.
There is a deity of Hindu or Buddhist origin on the right side of
the entrance and the see through mirror allows a glimpse of a Buddha
figurehead inside Tao Cafe as a sign of things to come. The theme of
religious deities is a predominant feature in the decor of Tao
Lifestyle Cafe and Gallery.
The ordering counter is located to the left of the entrance and the
chalk board menu lists a wide repertoire of drinks ranging from health
oriented blends and juices to gourmet coffee.
Deli food is also available in the form of pies, salads, sandwiches,
and a range of cakes. The price of food and drinks in Tao Lifestyle
Cafe and Gallery is slightly higher than Starbucks and other related
franchises due to its concept cafe origins.
Here’s another view of the Tao bar area. The counter is remarkably similar to bing!
[sixthseal.com] with similar chalk board menus and neatly arranged
arrays of bottled drinks and coffee machines. The staff also wears a
standard issue Tao t-shirt.
There is a wide range of seating arrangements available in Tao cafe
and even an al fresco area at the back for smokers. There is a lot of
experimenting with the interior seating with different tables and
chairs, sofas, and even a bean bag pile for patrons.
The ambience of Tao is remarkably chill with soft diffused lighting
and Eastern style music permeating the environment. There are pieces of
art highlighted by focused beams of light and Buddha figureheads placed
prominently in various arrangements.
The “Gallery” part in “Tao Lifestyle Cafe and Gallery” lies in the
various artwork and Buddha statues featured in Tao. There is a fresh
flower (replaced daily) in the palm of this Buddha figure.
Tao also features sparsely spaced windows which offers a glimpse
outside, and this presents a contrasting view of the place, with the
person soaking up the Zen like ambience inside while the world goes by
in the old town Jalan Padungan district of Kuching outside.
The incandescent lighted paper drums seem to have some significance
to the decor and can be seen near windows, often accompanied with a
The tables are decorated with lotus plants, a piece of flora of some significance to Buddhism/Taoist roots (pardon the pun).
Tao also has a well-stocked magazine rack (with a stone Buddha
watching over it) for people who are interested to catch up on news or
read some magazines with their health drinks.
The walls of Tao are adorned with embedded ceramic faces of Buddha
and the Zen like ambience of Tao Lifestyle Cafe is almost palpable…
There is an arrangement of abstract art highlighted with well placed
direct lighting accompanied with a lighting stand that produces soft
swirls serving as a guide of sorts into the al fresco area at the back.
The al fresco area has natural lighting courtesy of a partial
retractable sun roof. The largest Buddha statue in Tao is located at
the back. The statue seems to be larger than life-size, or maybe the
man is just a big dude, I don’t know. ;)
The back of Tao is dominated by a water feature on one side. The
soft, cascading water flowing down into a shallow pool is very calming
and the soft music conducive for conversation.
Coils of incense hang from the ceiling of Tao and there is a small
second floor which serves as the administrative area of Tao Lifestyle
Cafe and Gallery.
This is the Hot Chocolate that fish fish had. It comes with a tablet biscuit on the teaspoon and features intricate swirls of chocolate patterns.
This is Detox which is a mixed vegetable drink
concocted with spinach, green bell pepper, celery and lettuce. I always
get this drink when I go to Tao – it’s great stuff! It tastes great and
it’s gotta be nutritious with the stuff they put in it. :)
I also had Immune System Booster which is an iced
fruit and vegetable blend with pineapple, tomatoes and celery. It
tastes like V8 and the best thing about Tao is that the juice is served
undiluted (except for the ice cubes) which results in a thick blend.
This is a photo of me (Huai Bin) and fish fish (who does not want
her face to be revealed due to privacy concerns). She just came back
from Japan and gave me a limited edition Japan only Kit Kat bar as a
L-R: fish fish, Buddha, Huai Bin (me)
Tao is a great place to hang out and chill out. The ambience is very Zen-like and the seating arrangements are comfortable.
Update: Read fish fish’s review of the place here [blogspot.com].
Download: Tao video tour [sixthseal.com]
This is a one minute (1 min) video tour of Tao which you can download. It shows the entire interior of Tao Lifestyle Cafe and Gallery starting from the front.