Inside the walls of Bampot Tea House in Toronto
In The Land Of Tea
No, I didn't go to Ceylon. Instead I had the pleasure to visit Bampot Bohemian House of Tea & Board Games, located at the intersection of Bathurst & Harbord in Toronto.
A small brick house with stairs in front of the entrance evoked in my mind memories of lovely houses in Eastern European villages. But once I walked in, I couldn’t help but notice the vibes of the Middle-Eastern. Cozy booths covered with fabric, carpets and pillows instead of chairs to sit, right away invite you to relax and enjoy a cup of exotic tea while reading something like Arabian Nights stories, or any other book from the venue’s small library. Bampot has a truly bohemian and original atmosphere, which is a mixture of elements from all over the world. During my first visit to this tea house a year ago for the photo shoot of art series The Orientalist, I’ve noticed Indian mandalas hanging on its walls, and a portrait of famous Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko among them. ☺
The main feature of Bampot is, of course, tea. The unbelievable variety of their collection covers all the range from traditional black teas to surprising infusions of homemade herbal and fruit teas. All loose leaf teas from every possible region are carefully selected according to each year’s harvest, and the frequently updated collection would please even the most demanding visitors. I couldn’t resist this time but asked for a pot of traditional Moroccan mint tea. There is a tradition of pouring this tea far away from the cup (see top photo). It is the sign of hospitality: the higher the tea pot is above cup, the more welcomed guests are. I should confess that it took me a couple of times to manage that skill to the level that I put tea inside the cup, not all around it!
Bampot is an ideal place not only for those who like calm meditative time alone, or intimate chats with a friend, but also for larger group gatherings. Along with booths where you can sit on pillows, there are also big tables that can accommodate groups up to ten people. Comfortably occupying such table or small booth, you can also make your evening even more fun with borrowing one of their board games. The breathtaking smell of tea served in a pot with a small cup to sip from is often mixed in Bampot with delicious aroma of dishes and snacks as well as flavour of tea-leaf-based shisha offered at the venue as well. Tea, food, books, games… what else do you need for a perfect evening or afternoon?
Look what I found among Bampot’s collection of board games! ☺
But guess what? It can be even better. On a few nights of the month there is live music entertainment at Bampot, and even open mic evenings. Oh, and did I mention about constantly updating art exhibitions on the walls? Definitely Bampot is truly a “house”, with its own uniqueness and hospitality, that can not just feed you, but first of all, give you nice memories about your experience here. I’m dreaming now about my next visit to this place when I would be able to fully enjoying its enchanting calmness with a cup of tea, book and no rush.
What are your favourite tea houses? Share in comments below ☺
Author and model: Iana Komarnytska
Photographer: Pedro Bonatto
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