By Tan Mei Kuan
Established in March last year, So-mn (pronounced ‘soh muhn’) is a teahouse cum antique store which doubles as an arts and culture hub. Its name is derived from two Chinese characters depicting “upstairs” and “arts and culture” respectively.
This vegetarian spot is nestled upstairs in one of the shophouses brimming with old-world charm along Jalan Sultan Iskandar. Upon entrance, one would be greeted by sunlight flooding in through the trio of glass panel windows. The design of the unassuming place embraces simplicity at its best creating an immediate sense of spaciousness. Every nook in the cosy space has been thoughtfully placed with literary works of various authors enabling one to browse uninterrupted.
“For our food, we lean towards the healthy so we do cut down the sugar and salt level because besides young adults, most of our customers are of above 30 years of age. We do not use colourants at all in our cakes,” Keith Woo, a graphic designer based in KL, explained to Ipoh Echo. He runs So-mn together with two Ipohites, Fu Lee Ming and Loh Kok Hoong, who share his passion in oriental arts and culture.
“The highlight of our menu is our signature Chinese tea. We have curated seven types, all of which are imported from China,” Loh enthused.
For one to two pax, the Chinese tea is served in teapots and comes with a small portion of mixed nuts. According to Loh, the all-time favourite is the glutinous rice scented pu-erh (RM13). The other six aromatic indulgence are white peony white tea (RM13), silver needle white tea (RM15), an hua black tea (RM13), snowy mountain raw pu-erh (RM13), phoenix oolong (RM17) and west lake longjing (RM17).
“The second favourite is the white peony white tea which is high in antioxidants and has a soothing aroma,” Loh pointed out.
Those who prefer herbal tea can opt for either rosebud longan tea (RM7.50) or chrysanthemum longan tea (RM7.50) while the only cold brew available is cinnamon tie guan yin (RM7.50).
After finding that perfect cup of tea, you can elevate your tea experience by matching it with a dessert (cake of the day) and snack (sago pudding with gula melaka or 5 pieces of black sesame agar) of your choice at only RM29 per set for up to 2 pax. We especially adore how the tea and treats complemented one another well thus making the flavours pop.
For a heavier meal, try their braised mushrooms and vegetables set (RM18) served with pickle, grated fresh radish, multigrain rice and agar of the day. Did I mention that their agar comes in the prettiest flower shape?
“Most of these antique pieces (furniture and porcelain items) hailing from 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s are from my collection which I started since I was seventeen,” Loh shared.
With a capacity of up to 30 people, So-mn also rents out their space for private event, arts exhibition and culture showcase. “We have international tourists dropping by too,” Loh added.
Address: 101A, Jalan Sultan Iskandar, 30000 Ipoh, Perak. Contact: 012 458 6117Facebook: facebook.com/somnipohInstagram: somn_ipohOperating days and hours: Thursdays and Fridays – 2pm to 7pm, Saturdays and Sundays – 11am to 7pm