For many of us, weekdays are quiet hectic. It starts early in the morning – getting ready for work, dropping children to school, navigating through frozen traffic, facing train delays and reaching our workplace on time. When we hit our desk our computer screen greets us with loads and loads of work!
At times I wish I get few minutes to get out of the stressful office atmosphere and be in a place that offers complete silence and peace.
Many of you may already use your lunch break to do something that relaxes you like going for a walk in the park, reading a book, having a coffee with your friend, listening to music, retail therapy and Face booking :).
Recently I discovered another relaxing thing to do during my lunch break in the city. Visiting this place puts me in a state of ‘Nirvana’ and keeps me going for that day. This place has got everything – tea room which serves comforting Vegetarian/vegan food and delightful teas, soothing instrumental music, meditation hall and an art gallery. Some of you who have been to this place would have already guessed the name. I am talking about ‘Fo Guang Yuan Art gallery cum Vegetarian Tea house‘. FGYA (abbreviated) is located in the heart of Melbourne CBD (141 Queen Street, Melbourne Vic 3000).
The best time to visit FGYA is during 12.00 PM and 2.30 PM (Monday to Friday) as lunch is served during that time. If you are just going for tea and meditating, they are open from 10.30 AM until 3.30 PM.
AMBIENCE AND THE DECOR:
The first thing that strikes you when you enter the building is the ambience and the decor. The building and the interior has preserved the old Victorian architecture with high ceilings, art work on the ceilings and pillars. The lighting is soothing and easy on the eyes. Soft oriental instrumental music runs in the background.
For those of you who admire art, FGY Art gallery brings world class art works and collections. The artwork reflects virtues and profundity of life past and present. The collections include painting, sculptures, Calligraphy, pottery, embroidery and antiques from local and international artists and collections.
In their exhibition room they do conduct programmes and public demonstrations such as tea-preparation, calligraphic painting. Booking is required.
The food served in FGY is comforting and soulful. The food is 100% Vegetarian which makes use of fresh greens, vegetables,sprouts, tofu and vegetarian meat (made from soy and gluten). For a vegetarian like me, this is a perfect place to enjoy healthy vegetarian food and the simple pleasure of tea drinking.
The menu is creative and healthy. They serve Daily lunch specials priced at AUD11.50 (Bento box) which consist of mains in the form of a gravy or stir fry vegetables with tofu/soy meat, entree (curry puff/spring roll, zucchini fritters), rice salad, seasonal fruit. They also have Appetizers @AUD7.50, noodle soups priced from AUD9.50- AUD12.00 , tossed Noodles from AUD9.50 – AUD10.50, Stir fry varieties @AUD12.00.
The serving portion is generous. If you need your food to be more spicy/hot the staff will be happy to give fresh chilli and homemade fresh chilli paste.
One thing not to be missed in this tea house are the drinks (hot and cold). The tea and the cold drinks served here are full of natural flavour prepared from fruit peels, herbs, dried flowers, Aloe etc. The best seller is Kumquat tea. It is served in a cool glass tea pot where you can see the whole kumquats floating in happiness. It also comes with yummy small cookies. The hot drinks (Tea) are priced from AUD3.50 for a cup and AUD7.00 for a pot which can serve 3 people. The cold drinks are priced from AUD2.50 to AUD5.00.
The staffs serving the food are friendly and quick in taking the orders. The waiting time for the food is not long (Every time I order the food, the food is served within 5-8 minutes) which is good for busy working bees!
People who work around the city can drop into the meditation hall during lunch hours to relax and meditate.
Mediation hall is located upstairs and is designed well with a purpose. When you enter the hall you can sense the stillness and peace in the hall. Soft lighting, subtle incense and the provision of comfortable meditation mats provide a calming atmosphere for meditation. You are sure to enter the state of ‘Nirvana’ when you close your eyes.
FGY is a hidden gem in Melbourne CBD and certainly provides a total experience with comforting food, space for meditation and art lovers – a place to unwind and attain a state of complete bliss and peace.
A beautiful way to beat the work stress. Is it not?
Bye for now. Love from PetalDew – Nature’s nurture.