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 Buddha statuette.
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 souvenir.
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.