One of Mumbai’s latest trends? Swanky, new office buildings getting pregnant with restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, bars and nightclubs. The latest to join this brigade is the 10 day old Tea Trails. Is it world class? Or is it a chai ki dukan? I get Tea-lover NYC based “sexiest chef on earth”Vikas Khanna’s opinion. From views on the growing popularity of tea in the US, smoked tea (which he cooked with for his Masterchef show) it’s health benefits to adding thandai to tea…he gives us plenty of tea-gyan. To meet him my foodie blind dates (instagram and twitter buddies) the lovely @nehads12 Neha Shah working with a high profile international bank dashes down from Nariman Point. The well-informed @Gayayadav Gayatri Yadav, business development manager drives in from Malad. Dynamic professional, Shilpa Chawla, my loveliest reader past 20 years and author, foodstylist Chef Michael Swamy (who works closely with Vikas) shares his take on the food as well. Through it all, inspite of his frenetic two day trip for his new book and hosting a movie premiere, the tall, lovable, down to earth Vikas, our Punjabi munda hugs every one, smiles, laughs incessantly and turns out to be everyones cup of tea.
Walk into BKC’s gleaming, glass building and zoom up the hi-tech lift to the third floor. The Tea Lounge is plonked in a high-ceilinged open-lobby kind of space. Wooden partitions, a small food counter give it a makeshift look. Innovative lights, posters. WIFI in this small 40 seater space, bathed in natural light during the day.
A simple, easy to navigate menu of 45 – 50 variants of teas with various blends.From Flavored blacks, white, greens, Oolong to Tisanes, Bubble Tea and chai here. Our vote goes to the “Tea Explorer” ( Rs 250, 4 teas, white, Oolong, International, green and Tisane).Perfect for the beginner. I love the sensuous Lapsang Souchong (Rs 150) which is infused with smokey flavors by being smoke-dried over pinewood fires.
Though a bit too sweet, Apple and cinnamon infused Turkish Red Apple (Rs 95) is good as is the fruit-filled Mango Taiwanese Bubble Tea (Rs 110 or 130) even though it doesn’t have the tapioca balls. We sip and sample plenty of teas (including the kullad (Rs 70) and the coolers.
All served in glass pitchers with inbuilt infusers, a timer sand watch, brewing instructions et al. Complimentary cheese straws too.
Flavorsome Thai curry, well-made Tea infused Burmese Tea Leaf Salad stand out in the lunch specials. In the all day menu, it’s the crisp onion bhajias, the simple slice of the pound cake that are worth trying, the rest of the outsourced desserts and a few savories are average or below par.
Inaccessible, third floor location in the Capital Building (but a plus point for those working here) Dry, lackluster sandwich, muffins lack chocolate, Flavorful but soggy Tea biscuits, gelatinous blueberry cheesecake, lemon tart encased in a hard shell. The tall, cool lemon and mint iced tea disappoints as does the slow service. Shilpa never got her order of Japanese tea inspite of requesting for it through the evening. My favorite Japanese Genmaicha and Gyokuro teas are not on the menu.
MY TRIED, TESTED AND TASTED VERDICT
Sniff, swirl, sip and spit…Ive done many a tea tasting sessions around the world and been romancing tea forever. So when Tea centre opened in Churchgate decades ago I was over the moon. I came to Tea Trails with joy and expectation. Happy that the dynamic Kavita and Uday Mathur’s passion for tea spills over and they have taken care to ensure accurate brewing (timer et al) and serve up a flavor of world teas as well as our chai. Not exactly a gourmet tea lounge (a few rare teas could’ve been added) Food needs to be finetuned as does the service, but these could be just teething troubles. Open through the day till 7pm, I welcome this Tea Lounge… ideal for chai and gupshup for tea lovers in the vicinity or should I say vicinitea?
TEA TRAILS, The Capital, Bandra Kurla Complex.
Open 9am to 7pm
Average spend Rs 600 for 2.
FOOD 2.5 TEA 3.5 SERVICE 3 DÉCOR 3
MY HUNT HAS BEGUN
I’ve been tweeting and instagraming for Home dessert makers for the Times Food Guide 2015 . Wow! What a response. Thanks a million. Will be inviting you for my “Whats hot” Tasting sessions so if you want to be included please mail firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter, instagram @rashmiudaysingh,
What a wonderful world. I repeat. What a wonderful, helpful and yummy world. I’d never met these young and brilliant food bloggers and yet on the basis of my SOS tweets and Instagrams, they came across gallantly to help me hitchhike into the alien galaxies and solar-systems of the internet et al.
EDDIES… AN EDDIFYING EXPERIENCE
Sorry for that cheap pun but my lunch in this new, small Bandra eatery was just that… eddyfying. The dynamic and articulate food bloggers Chandni, Pratishta, Anuja, Roxanne and Kumar (please read the Box, “My Tweet-hearts” ) patiently showed me not only the nitty gritties of tweeting and blogging and all that goes in between, but also shared their views on Eddies. Please take a look at the accompanying photograph, if it had a videotrack attached to it, here’s what you’d see… my charming guests with their cell-phones (of all shapes and sizes) taking photos of the dishes, me taking furious notes of all they advise, plenty of eating. So, what follows is a truly democratic restaurant review.
Airy, cheery, narrow and smallish. The blonde light wood and mirrored interiors give it a casual-comfy, all-day-dining bistro vibe. A couple of plasma screens complete the décor of the well-used small space.
We all agree that what comes out of the 26-year-old chef Nishant Mitra’s kitchen are attractively assembled dishes (dips and a dessert too served in cute cutting chai glasses) that will have diners (not just food bloggers) reaching for their cellphone cameras. What goes into his kitchen are fresh and good quality ingredients. The menu is divided into small plates and fat plates and once again we all agree that it’s the small plates that score over the mains, the burgers come out tops. Ask for the “Unbeetable beet burger” squishy firm with beet and cottage cheese as well as the perfectly juicy, moist with Harissa Mayo Mini Lamb Burger . Go for the refreshing Beetroot Carpaccio (perfectly dressed with caramelised apple vinaigrette), oven-baked discs of sweet potato made zesty with an emmental cheese and jalapeno sauce. Interesting Asian flavours peep through in the chicken plank with bok choy. We polish off the velvetty panacotta and the crazily addictive hazelnut torte. Bliss.
In some of the dishes, the flavour pallete wasn’t just bland but blurry, with not a single clear flavour coming into focus. Getting unanimous dislike votes were the gritty Polenta Fries (albeit with yummy goat cheese dips and tomato jam) and the stodgy Mac & Cheese Bites. Okayish Grilled Prawns (inconvenient in their shells) with the pineapple and wine sangaria dip, the strange marriage of the Russian Strogonoff and Italian Risotto (and the overcooked chicken) didn’t work. No valet parking.
Here it is. A truly democratic restaurant review. The acid test of a restaurant: will you go back? All my guests (except one) will surely do so. Me too. Unpretentious, casual, well-presented European (with a few Asian flavours too) “small” and “fat plates”, plenty for vegetarians, must-try burgers, some salads and superb desserts. Eddies serves up comfort with a bit of spin and a dash of international sophistication, comfort with a cheeky tweak.
Meal for two Rs 1,800 approx
Shop No. 6, Silver Croft Bldg,
16th and 33rd Road Junction,
Cheery. Stamp-sized. Crammed with five tables, open kitchen. Asian multicuisine menu and specials chalked onto the blackboard. A small alfresco area too.
Please notice the three bottles of “Chibs multipurpose sauces” in the photo. Turn up the spice levels of your food and buy them (Red chilly is the best at Rs 68) to take them home too. The star of Nikhil Chibs menu (the first to introduce it to Mumbai), is the velvety, coconutty Burmese Kaukswe, ladled on to either noodles or rice and sprinkled with crispy crunchy condiments and twist of lime.
Go for the meals in a bowl. Ask for the moist steamed crunchy Vegetarian Momos and Prawn Momos. The special of the day, the Bekti steamed fish sparkled with lemon is worth trying, as is the succulent, robustly spiced Korean Bulgogi. Go for the freshly squeezed “Make your own juice”, Nespresso coffee (served in a paper cup, Alas) too. Though not authentic the Bánh mì sandwich is tasty, filling and inexpensive.
Bland Thai curry, Madras curry powder-laden Cambodian curry are avoidable as is the Coconut nimbu pani laced with ginger and honey. Lacklustre Kungpao with peanuts. Hard crusted, oversweet Banoffee Pie. No alcohol.
Open through the day, VFM (average meal for 2, Rs 500. Home delivery too). Though some of the dishes are patchy the Kaukswe and Momos are worth trying. A welcome addition to buzzing Bandra.
Gaspar Enclave, Shop No 11, Pali Naka, Bandra West, 400050
Tel: 6127 8897
Open: 11:30am to 11:30pm
Rating: * Food: 3.5 * Service: 3.5 * Décor: 3
Please look carefully. No! its not a genies lamp ( spewing smoke) that you are seeing in the photo. But I still held it in my left hand and clicked the camera with my right hand. Reason? This liquid nitrogen smoke is at once a symbol of magic and science that Mumbai’s latest progressive Indian restaurant uses to coax surprise, taste, texture from it’s dishes….
Article featured on Bombay Times