Kashmir Saffron, Jaipur Royal, Goan Bliss and Malabari Vanilla Coconut: These are easy to mistake as items from a mocktail menu, when they are, in fact, a mixture of tea. Through the expansion of tea cafes and lounges over the past few years, the city has introduced itself to a wide variety of international teas, including exotic Fruity Ceylon and Japanese-style Sencha. But a prominent tea brand, an initiative of the Taj Mahal Tea House, is located on a dusty Bandra bylane and wants to introduce patrons to the local mix. The founders think that their target audience is someone who appreciates a good cup of tea and that it embodies comfort.
It is perhaps appropriate that the interior of the tea-room evokes a feeling of restlessness and a general feeling of serenity. Enclosed in a restored bungalow, the space – spread over 3,500 square feet – has marble-top tables, old school garden chairs and soft lighting against a backdrop of yellow walls. There’s a comfortable reading knock, a delightful, though shelter, outdoor portion and a tea bar, from which the aroma of the tea comes out. Niladri Kumar’s setar with a picture of Zakir Hussain has been placed on a wall opposite – the brand’s most familiar face – framed nearby. A tabla set, presented by a tabla master, sits on the opposite wall. The area will soon be open for live classical performances and book reading.
From their variety of teas, Goan Bliss tea strikes a soothing note, whose mixture of caramel and crushed spices gives the palate a sweet and spicy taste. Curry leaves are made in a thick mixture mixed with curry leaves, which gives it a crispy taste but does not exceed the comfort of tea. The food menu has been created to complement their various teas. For example, ragi masala dhokla, masala toast, bread upma and persi ban maska are recommended with the above tea.
Iced tea infusions like tea lemonade, such as a fresh pink jasmine, and guava ginger are best paired with foods like Eggs Benedict and Savory Waffle sandwiches. The main section includes soup and tea-inspired inspirations, such as a Darjeeling tea risotto with oolong-packed king fish and crispy dry fruits.
Although the price of nibble starts from Rs 120, the mains go up to Rs 650. The effect of the tea also extends to the confectionery category, with items such as jasmine apricot clafautis and chai pannakota. The latter, more creamy than a regular pancake and served with a salty powder, will appear a hit among patrons with a light sweet palate. Tea, however, scores above the food here. The atmosphere of the old world, including the strains of classical music, gives a break from the noisy life outside. This is the place where you will want to relax alone – just sip tea and see the world.