Food Bytes: Mumbai Gets High On High Tea!

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Dainty cucumber and watercress sandwiches served on white bread with their crusts taken off. Diminutive lavender scones jostling for space with chocolate-topped profiteroles. Elaborately decorated mini pastries giving company to petit fours. All these sitting poised on a three-tiered cake stand laid out with paper doilies next to a pot of freshly brewed tea. Never mind that the above takes you back to the Victorian times in England, where white gloved ladies sat in the summer garden taking measure sips of tepid Earl Grey tea from floral painted porcelain cups—raised pinky et al! And never mind how namby-pamby all that may sound... For such an afternoon high tea service (generally taken between the hours of 4pm to 7pm) exists even today and in all its glory. In fact, these days it seems to be enjoying a renaissance or sorts, right under our very nose. Not surprising then that fad loving Mumbai can’t seem to get enough of this latest craze. And the following places are some of the purveyors of the fine art of ‘doing’ high tea.
High Tea at Nido, Mumbai
High Tea at Nido, Mumbai
Nido Cottoning on to the idea of a high tea, this one by the Khar-based European fine dining restaurant is the newest and in my opinion the best value for money high tea. With two versions offered daily from 4pm to 7pm, the general high tea (Rs 700 per person) is the better option of the two (the other being a Champagne version for Rs 1,100 per person) with a choice of 11 teas including good old masala chai along with a South African Rooibos and a Russian Black Tea. Nosh items served here are finger sandwiches (love the egg salad one), profiteroles, tea cakes, fruit tartlets, flaky mushroom vol au vents and warm scones with Devonshire clotted cream and preserves. Where: 21, Union Park, Near Le Sutra Hotel, Khar. Call, 022-67706336 Sea Lounge at The Taj Mahal Palace Over the years, this casual yet classy lounge has been THE place to simply saunter into, pull up a comfy chair and just watch the ocean do its thing. But it also has one delicious little ritual called the High Tea Buffet (Rs 1,500 per person) served daily from 3.30pm to 7pm. here you can feast to your heart’s content on delicacies like watercress and cucumber sandwiches, vol au vents and pastries like the criminally soft madeleines and apple strudel, along with a selection of teas like Darjeeling, Assam and even Japanese sencha. They even do a few Indian items like mini vada pavs, sev puri and pav baji. Where: The Taj Mahal Palace, Apollo Bunder, Colaba. Call, 022-66653366 The Tasting Room at Good Earth Every day from 4pm to 6pm this shabby chic eatery transforms into an intimate little tea salon where the ‘ladies who shop’ come with arms laden with bags for a spot of high tea. The spread here (Rs 850 for two) is made up of an eclectic mix of teas from the likes of Mokalbari, Coonoor and Sunda Red Tea served with bite-sized sandwiches with fillings like egg, mustard and ham, chicken mayonnaise and scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam among other items. Where: 1st floor, Good Earth, Raghuvanshi Mill compound, Lower Parel. Call, 022-65285284
Afternoon Tea at The Atrium Lounge atTaj Lands End, Mumbai
Afternoon Tea at The Atrium Lounge atTaj Lands End, Mumbai
Piccoli Tortini This tiny, but pretty Bandra patisserie has been doing its version of high tea for a while. The afternoon high tea (Rs 795 per person) is composed of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian sandwiches, sweet and savoury pastries, scones with cream and preserves, and a cup of tea or coffee. They even do a children’s version of the high tea (Rs 495) with all the above items, but with a glass of orange juice or hot chocolate in lieu of the tea and coffee. Where: 98, Shams Palace, Hill Road, Bandra (West). Call, 022-69996000 The Atrium Lounge, Taj Lands End I’ve saved the best for last, as this one is decadent with a capital ‘D’! The high tea service at The Atrium Lounge comes in two versions, the simple one (Rs 800 per person) and the champagne one (Rs 1,200 per person) with Moët & Chandon. The common menu for both is an elaborate selection of the finest Indian and international teas including Darjeeling oolong, Earl Grey, Lapsang souchong and Egyptian camomile among others. The tea is accompanied with lip-smacking continental and Indian delicacies that include scones with clotted cream (of course!), savoury chicken mince turnover, cucumber-cream cheese-chutney on wheat bread, cooked ham and cheddar cheese remoulade, tea sandwiches, dhokla, vegetarian spring rolls, kheema toasty, English fruit cake and orange butter cake, seasonal fruit tartlets, vanilla short bread etc, etc. Phew! Where: Taj Lands End, Bandra Bandstand, Bandra (west). Call, 022-66681234 Recipe: Lavender Scones
Lavender scones
Lavender scones
Ingredients 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 cup full fat milk 1/4 cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoons fresh lavender or 1 teaspoon dried lavender, coarsely chopped 2/3 cup milk, plus extra for glaze Method * Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a large baking tray with vegetable-oil. * In a large bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. With two knives, cut butter into flour mixture until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. * In a small bowl, combine the sugar and lavender. * Stir the sugar/lavender mixture into the flour mixture. Add enough milk to make a soft, sticky dough. * Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface. Cut dough into 1-inch thick rounds with a cookie cutter or a drinking glass. * Place scones on the prepared baking tray. Brush the top of each scone with a dash of milk. * Bake for approximately 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let it cool. * Serve with clotted cream and strawberry jam (makes 12 scones) Try this recipe out at home and send us your scone pics at [email protected]! Pics courtessy: Nido, Taj Land’s End and www.lavenderfarms.net

Raul Dias

Raul Dias
Lists travel, food and luxury as the tantalizing trifecta that defines him. When he’s not travelling, eating or getting pampered at a spa, you'll find him assaulting his notebook's keyboard with a feral vengeance, churning out what he hopes are intelligent, informative and entertaining stories.
  • Nishu

    You mean afternoon tea, not high tea. None of these are high tea. A little research next time, perhaps?

  • This is a great list!! I must share this on my page! It’s okay to call them high tea, I think. I read that afternoon tea is better known as high tea in many other parts of the world outside of U.K. (and India, I guess). I found an interesting fact when I was writing my post about an afternoon tea at The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai. “Some hotels, such as The Ritz in London, use the term ‘High tea in London’ to advertise their Afternoon Tea because a large proportion of their customers are from overseas.” (via http://www.afternoontea.co.uk/information/what-is-high-tea/) Besides, high on high tea has a nice pun!