Inside One Hour (Image: Karolyne Ellacott)
The leap from architect to restaurateur is probably not a traditional career trajectory, but that’s the route
Han Shao has taken. After moving to Toronto from mainland China in 2005, Shao earned a master’s degree from U of T’s architecture program and went on to work for a local firm. But that didn’t last long. Fed up with the mind-numbing computer work he faced every day, Shao decided to quit his job and open up a bright new tea house in the heart of Chinatown.
A lengthy passage printed in the entranceway greets customers with a little philosophy. Shao condenses it for us: “There are 24 hours in a day—just one hour can make a difference in your life.” He hopes that his spot will act as a place where people—especially university kids—can take a meaningful break from their stressful lives, grab a drink and chat with their friends (the beanbag seats will probably keep some longer than a single hour). While Shao is passionate about his new career, his previous world hasn’t quite escaped him: he designed both the streamlined interior and the simple but recognizable logo. He tells us he’s “addicted to minimalism,” not exactly a first for tea or coffee shops, but more than a little unorthodox in the middle of Spadina’s bustle.
The menu focuses mainly on drinks, like the mango or white gourd slushes, although Shao tells us the ladies fall hard for the taro root version. Shao also serves beef noodle soup, a traditional Chinese comfort food that is “totally homemade” and is available in small or large portions. Eventually, he’d like to expand the edible part of the menu with more continental fare like fried chicken and french fries. Plans for dessert—cheesecakes, crème brûlée and blueberry pancakes—are in the works too.
92690 (Image: Karolyne Ellacott) One hour’s complete menu (for now) Introducing: One Hour https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-menu-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-menu.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-menu.jpg 486 624  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-one-hour/slide/one-hour-menu/ one-hour-menu 0 0
One hour’s complete menu (for now)
92696 (Image: Karolyne Ellacott) Small beef noodle soup ($4.99) Introducing: One Hour https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-soup-small-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-soup-small.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-soup-small.jpg 624 468  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-one-hour/slide/one-hour-soup-small/ one-hour-soup-small 0 0
Small beef noodle soup ($4.99)
92695 (Image: Karolyne Ellacott) Large beef noodle soup ($5.99) Introducing: One Hour https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-soup-large-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-soup-large.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-soup-large.jpg 624 451  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-one-hour/slide/one-hour-soup-large/ one-hour-soup-large 0 0
Large beef noodle soup ($5.99)
92693 (Image: Karolyne Ellacott) Red bean matcha slush ($5.99) Introducing: One Hour https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-red-bean-matcha-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-red-bean-matcha.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-red-bean-matcha.jpg 453 624  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-one-hour/slide/one-hour-red-bean-matcha/ one-hour-red-bean-matcha 0 0
Red bean matcha slush ($5.99)
92689 (Image: Karolyne Ellacott) Fresh mango slush ($6.99) Introducing: One Hour https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-mango-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-mango.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-mango.jpg 468 624  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-one-hour/slide/one-hour-mango/ one-hour-mango 0 0
Fresh mango slush ($6.99)
92688 (Image: Karolyne Ellacott) One Hour’s magazine selection Introducing: One Hour https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-magazines-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-magazines.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-magazines.jpg 624 468  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-one-hour/slide/one-hour-magazines/ one-hour-magazines 0 0
One Hour’s magazine selection
92686 (Image: Karolyne Ellacott) Introducing: One Hour https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-3-inside-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-3-inside.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-3-inside.jpg 624 468  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-one-hour/slide/one-hour-3-inside/ one-hour-3-inside 0 0
92685 (Image: Karolyne Ellacott) Shao, an architect by training, designed the space Introducing: One Hour https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-2-inside-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-2-inside.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-2-inside.jpg 468 624  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-one-hour/slide/one-hour-2-inside/ one-hour-2-inside 0 0
Shao, an architect by training, designed the space
92684 (Image: Karolyne Ellacott) The bright open space is dotted with beanbags on the floors Introducing: One Hour https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-1-inside-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-1-inside.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-1-inside.jpg 656 430  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-one-hour/slide/one-hour-1-inside/ one-hour-1-inside 0 0
The bright open space is dotted with beanbags on the floors
92692 (Image: Karolyne Ellacott) One Hour’s philosophy Introducing: One Hour https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-philosophy-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-philosophy.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-philosophy.jpg 468 624  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-one-hour/slide/one-hour-philosophy/ one-hour-philosophy 0 0
One Hour’s philosophy
92687 (Image: Karolyne Ellacott) Shao designed the “1HR” logo himself Introducing: One Hour https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-logo-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-logo.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-logo.jpg 624 468  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-one-hour/slide/one-hour-logo/ one-hour-logo 0 0
Shao designed the “1HR” logo himself
92694 (Image: Karolyne Ellacott) Introducing: One Hour https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-sandwich-board-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-sandwich-board.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-sandwich-board.jpg 468 624  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-one-hour/slide/one-hour-sandwich-board/ one-hour-sandwich-board 0 0
92691 (Image: Karolyne Ellacott) Outside Han Shao’s new minimalist Spadina tea shop Introducing: One Hour https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-outside-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-outside.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/one-hour-outside.jpg 468 624  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-one-hour/slide/one-hour-outside/ one-hour-outside 0 0
Outside Han Shao’s new minimalist Spadina tea shop
One Hour, 435 Spadina Ave., 647-346-2172, onehour.cc
2 thoughts on “Introducing: One Hour, Chinatown’s first minimalist tea shop”
3.99 for a SMALL TEA?
no idea what tea shop you go to, but 3.99 for a sit-in teashop is pretty cheap…… :/
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