Set out in the gardens, in a plush lobby lounge or a cosy neighbourhood restaurant, the art of afternoon tea is making a comeback
You might want to swap your usual happy hour and take a cue from Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, who is credited with pioneering an elegant social affair among British aristocracy in the 18th century — a splendid afternoon tea ritual. Why? Only because it’s the civilised thing to do, occasionally, in the middle of a hectic day. And it offers one a chance for lively conversation, some real relaxation, an array of delicate finger foods and, of course, some fine curated teas. We bring you places in town that are equipped
to lure you towards taking that much-needed tea break. —Jackie Pinto
@ The Ritz Carlton
Known the world over for their splendid afternoon tea service, this one at the elegant Lobby Lounge keeps the whole affair quite ‘Ritzy’. An unobtrusive pianist adds to the mellow mood while you tuck into their selection of fresh fruit tarts, berry macaroons, pistachio eclairs, crustless (of course) salmon or tiny spinach quiches, and most importantly, freshly baked scones (plain or raisin) with pots of preserves, clotted cream or lemon curd. The choice of fine teas on offer include chamomile, Imperial China, Natural Jasmine, Kandy Gunpowder green tea and the fine Imboolpitiya Estate Silver Tips.
Rs. 1,100++. A glass of Moet & Chandon will turn it into the Royal Afternoon Tea (Rs. 2,500++). At Residency Road. Details: 49148000
@ The Oberoi
An informative stroll around their lush garden spread with their in-house horticulturist precedes a nice afternoon tea at the al fresco Polo Club. The more modest version comes with two kinds of open sandwiches and a platter of assorted mini desserts alongside a selection of tea and coffee (Rs. 500++). But for a true indulgence, the English afternoon tea comes with a fully loaded three-tier charlie of mini macaroons, tarts, smoked salmon and goat cheese finger sandwiches, and of course, a splendid sele ction of teas and coffee brews. Rs. 1,200++. At MG Road. Details: 25585858
@ Portland Steakhouse
“Our scones are oven fresh, and if I may say so myself, a flaky crumbly delight,” begins Maqsood Mohamed of Portland Steakhouse who along with his wife Sabhiha has curated a full afternoon tea menu at this cozy restaurant and the Mohameds have the formula down pat. The repast comes with a few interesting Indian twists — mint chutney and chicken tikka make the list of fillings along with the usual suspects — cucumber, lettuce and tomato, roast beef and smoked salmon sandwiches. The scones of course stay true to form with clotted cream on the side and a selection of individual pastries.
You can add a glass of sparkling wine (Rs. 450 per glass) or Proseco (Rs. 350 per glass). Rs. 450 upwards for a minimum of 25 people. At Brunton Road. Details: 25593405
The biggest faux pas is to refer to afternoon tea as “high tea” as it was originally a heavy meal for the working classes, served ‘high’ at the counter at around 5pm. A full-fledged tea should be had in a certain order – finger sandwiches are first, scones next, and finally the sweet treat of pastries.
@The Taj West End
Set among the lush gardens of this heritage property, The Taj West End hosts an afternoon tea that is much more than a glorified cuppa and a snack. Catch up on some gossip or simply unwind over an inviting selection of smoked salmon, cucumber and dill sandwiches, fish fingers with tartare sauce, tiny lemon tarts, temptingly frosted cupcakes, coffee macaroons and delectable strawberries dipped in chocolate, paired with a wide ranging tea selection from Darjeeling to Monking, Jasmine, Earl Grey and Egyptian Chammomile.
Rs. 900. At Race Course Road. Details: 66605660