High time for tea

High time for tea
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First Published: Fri, Dec 09 2011. 09 16 PM IST

Updated: Fri, Dec 09 2011. 09 16 PM IST
Lounge Loves | High tea at Taj Palace, Delhi
Apianist at the grand piano, an artist at a canvas, a mellow sun, a blue sky and a perfectly brewed cup of first flush Margaret’s Hope. Even today, life is blissful, the new high tea service at the Taj Palace hotel, Delhi, gently reminds us. The hotel’s general manager, Taljinder Singh, a tea aficionado who conceived of the high tea, says: “During a recent visit to London, when having tea at the Ritz, I was struck by how different a cup of the same Darjeeling tastes here and there. It’s a pity that the best varieties of our tea were going abroad.” So he decided to bring the same experience to his clientele here.
Introduced this week at its Tea Lounge, the menu offers 30 varieties of premium estate teas. The selection has been pared down from the earlier 100. The new selection features teas from every tea-growing tradition and terroir, Indian or foreign— besides the mandatory delicate Darjeelings, robust Assams and fragrant Nilgiris, there is organic chai brewed to Ayurvedic specifications, there’s tea from Sikkim’s sole tea estate, from Kangra and Nepal and Sri Lanka. There are green teas from Japan and Vietnam, the fabled smoky Chinese black tea Lapsang Souchong, and the grassy Egyptian chamomile. But if you must get your caffeine fix from coffee alone, then there are 10 single-origin coffees.
Fresh brew: Choose from 30 varieties of tea.
Afternoon tea is rarely ever about just the tea. It’s a ritual, and it’s about warm, fluffy scones and dollops of clotted cream on the scones. It’s about puffs, pastries and cold cuts in thinly sliced sandwiches, dainty tartlets and champagne to wash them down. The Tea Lounge has four set menus on a weekly rotation, so while you can choose your cuppa, what comes along with it will vary. If it’s mint and chocolate pastry, kiwi and dragon fruit tart, raisin and bitter orange scones and English fruit cake one week, it’s mango and coconut pastry, blueberry scones, banana bread, mini samosas and sandesh the next.
If there’s one bone to pick, it’s the china—a civilized experience like this calls for dainty British tea service.
The set menus are available from 3-6pm and priced at Rs 950, plus taxes (Rs 1,100 extra for a glass of champagne) per head, though the hotel recommends a couple share it.
Amrita Roy
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First Published: Fri, Dec 09 2011. 09 16 PM IST