A cup of tea would restore my normality. Shirin Mehrotra nods in agreement over four cups at the newly opened tea lounge in Bandra.
Memories of train journeys as kids flashed before our eyes as we drank the Kullad special chai (Rs 70) at Tea Trails. The milky brew with a subtle flavour of black cardamom took us back to the days of waiting on the platform and sipping from earthen cups.
Tea Trails in BKC is a small cafe in Capital buildings Sky Lounge. Boards with interesting trivia on tea and a subtle comparison of tea and coffee kept us busy till our orders arrived.
An extensive tea menu with International, classic, black, and green teas makes it clear that tea is the hero here. But the food doesnt play second fiddle. Its more like a strong character actor. There are sufficient options for breakfast marbled eggs, pancakes, poha, upma. For lunch theres Burmese salad, pasta, pizza, Dilli ke kulche chole and snacks like bun maska, chicken puff, samosa, pakoda. Some of the dishes are served with a complimentary cup of tea. For coffee lovers, there is a sole filter coffee on the menu.
We visited Tea Trails on the day it opened and people were already walking in for their 4pm snack. Our tea tasting session started with a Japanese sencha (Rs 150) the smoky green tea was served with a palmier. We had this with a tea-infused Burmese salad (Rs 150) which reminded us of the one we recently ate at Burma Burma. Here, the fermented tea leaves were not pureed but mixed whole in the fresh and crunchy salad. The next tea, Turkish black (Rs 110) was more familiar to our palate. It tasted a lot like the black tea we brew at home minus the bitterness. This one came with a palmier and few dates which is how Turkish tea is had traditionally.
The Turkish red apple (Rs 95) will make you nostalgic with its similarity to the Butter apple tea at Tea Centre in Churchgate. However, the must try here is the Taiwanese bubble tea (Rs 110). This cold tea has a base of green tea and comes in lychee and mango flavours. The interesting part is the fruit-filled bubbles in it which burst in your mouth. This drink is a take on the original Taiwanese tea which is milk based and has large, chewy tapioca balls instead of the fruit bubbles. Every tea is served with a small note mentioning the required brewing time and an hourglass.
Tea Trails covers a vast range of teas with its menu and provides much needed respite from the coffee chains. With plans of opening more stores in the city we think that the Ying Yang balance between coffee and tea will soon be restored.
Must try: Taiwanese bubble tea, Turkish red apple tea
Meal for two: Rs 450 + taxes
This meal was sponsored by the restaurant.