Eureka! Eureka! That is what the first tea drinker would have yelled when those leaves flew into his cup of hot water accidentally. How happy would he have been if he were to visit Tea Trails, to be introduced to varied types of tea made from the shrub Camellia sinensis and they would not just stop there, also to infuse tea in the food they serve.
Driving in our mid-sized sedan, we difficultly entered this slim by lane of Kala Ghoda to arrive at the tea temple. The owners are a bunch of enthusiasts who have passion for tea and this passion is seen in every cup they serve. We were kept company by Mr. Amit Tiwari, general manager Tea Trails India, while we sipped on different variants of teas served from across the globe. He is extremely knowledgeable and knows tea like the back of his hand.
Conceptualisation of Tea Trails came from the fact that we Indians being tea drinkers spend hours at coffee shops just because of their abundance and because they say “A lot can happen over coffee”. So they thought of starting a tea house where one could chat with your pals for hours while they enjoyed their favourite cup of tea. They are masters of the drink and the expertise comes from an extensive two year R&D on the subject.
FROM THE DESIGNERS PERSPECTIVE!
A welcoming ambiance of vibrant yet soothing colours, white painted raw brick walls, colourfully upholstered seating across wooden tables gives it the appearance of a bistro. A white painted wall with kettles protruding out of it and a vertical garden bring a breath of fresh air to the place. One of the walls is clad with framed prints each one of which has tea as the nucleus. One can land here for an informal business meet, a long chat with a buddy, a sit around with your crush, a fathers day breakfast with your dad and very importantly the love of tea.
FOR THE LOVE OF TEA AND FOOD!
WHITE TEA. We started with White tea. White tea being one of the exotic teas is known to be an expensive drink and only a true tea lover would have the palette for this one. This tea was served in a glass tea maker along with a sand timer and a plank card, which asked us to wait for 2 minutes before the tea is ready. So the sand timer did its job, we flipped it around twice to wait for our tea to be ready. When the last sand granule slipped though the pin hole we promptly pressed a button on the tea maker, which filtered the tea into another chamber from where it was ready to be poured in our respective cups. This is the standard technique they use to serve all their teas served without milk.
White tea has an extremely mild flavour. At the first sip a non-drinker might feel like having hot water but only a true patron would enjoy this one. It was our first introduction to white tea and we felt the texture of butter in the tea. Though it is much like water but it is more viscous.
KASHMIRI KAHWA was one of our favourites. It had almond shreds at the bottom on which the kahwa was poured. The flavour was rich with saffron and Kashmiri spices and had a highly refreshing quotient. The only thing we missed while having this one was the view of snow clad peaks of Kashmir and the natural cool in the air from the mountain breeze.
While we were relishing the teas they served some little bites as accompaniments. Most of their preparations are interestingly tea infused and we were very exited to try how tea would taste with food.
Firstly we were served sweet bun maska, a serving with tea popularised by Irani cafes. The buns here were extremely soft and fresh with generous amount of butter. This one is a good have with the tea of your choice.
GREEN TEA & OLIVE BRUSCHETTAS was served with salsa sauce. Green tea leaves and olives, spread on a toasted baguette is a fine combination and the tea leaves add some good flavour to the spread. It was amazing how tea leaves could blend so well with a classic bruschetta. We quite enjoyed this one.
BURMESE TEA SALAD is a salad of cabbage and lettuce tossed with fermented green tea leaves, nuts, chana dal and seasame dressing. The dressing is served separately for you to pour at will. We first tried the salad without the dressing to find something lacking but the second bite with garlic hinted sesame dressing added a much required flavour. This salad is for the ones who like their food with light flavours and a lot of crunch. We loved the crunch but having a zesty palate we found the dish a tad bit bland.
BLOOMING FLOWER TEA. This one is an amusing drink as you see chrysanthemum flower bloom in hot water as the tea is getting prepared. Once the flower reaches the bottom it is assumed to have completely bloomed and the tea is ready to be served. Quite a concept, quite a drink!
THREE CHEESE RISOTTO is made with exotic Italian flavours. It is a combination of three kinds of cheese with green tea infused butter. The cheese is appropriately done in right proportions making the risotto delicious. The sauce is the star of the dish; it has green tea infused butter with green tea leaves, which gives the dish its flavour and crunch. Fried rosemary stands tall on the risotto as a garnish. This one is a recommend!
SMOKEY CHINESE LAPSANG SOUCHONG. This tea is for our smoke loving friends. It has a very strong aroma of wood fire. The colour of this tea is dark more like copper and tastes like liquid smoke.
BUBBLE TEA is a Taiwanese concept; it is basically a fruit based drink with fruit balls. These fruit balls add an element of fun to the tea as they burst in your mouth. It is a playful feeling and we loved this surprise element. The best part about this tea is that you might not find the same flavour on your next visit as they use seasonal fruits. So every time you visit them, you can sip a different flavour.
SMOKY BARBEQUE SANDWICH is a grilled sandwich with a filling of cottage cheese and caramelized onions. The barbeque sauce and caramelized onions both made the dish very sweet which is not our taste preference. We skipped this one after a couple of bites.
BETTER WIFE, a mocktail with fruity and minty flavour topped with a slice of pineapple was a green tea based yogurt drink mixed with pineapple juice. Was a very different sipper with a dimmed element of tea.
MATCHA SHAKE, is a green tea from Japan in powdered form which is blended with milk to create some wonderful flavour. Matcha comes with loads of health benefits.
KULHAD KI CHAI. The most awaited tea appeared on our table right at the end. Nothing can take our love for desi chai and when it is served in a baked kulhad its like a cherry on the cake. We were amazed at the detailing that has been taken care of by the creators. The kulhad is not a regular kulhad which is commercially diesel fired, this one is specially wood fired and it gets an mesmerising aroma, credit to its make. It makes your chai perfect. The tea also had a secret ingredient, which was not disclosed by the manager. All in all this tea stimulated our senses and taste buds just to keep us longing for more.
ONION POKODA. What could go best with kulhad ki chai other than onion pakodas. These onion pakodas are served hot and spicy at Teatrails. It is placed on a bed of tamarind chutney and complimented with green chutney. Heavenly! We satiated our spicy taste buds with these pakodas.
OLIVE AND GREEN TEA HUMUS is a tea infused olive flavoured humus, which gives the humus its greenish colour. It is served with fresh pita.
RED ZEN is a caffeine free tea with a blend of apple and black tea along with cinnamon and honey, giving the tea its sweetish taste. The tea has a very prominent red colour gained from the berries and a strong flavour compared to other teas. We loved this one too.
Sweet dishes are amongst the rare dishes on the menu, which are not tea infused. Though they do not specialize in their deserts and outsource them but ending a conversation on a sweet note is the Indian thing and we are devoted followers of this tradition. We tried Red Velvet Pastry, Mix fruit pastry, Choco chip muffin and Dutch truffle with vanilla ice cream. All the dishes were absolutely fresh and amongst all of them we loved the Mix fruit pastry and choco muffin the most.
Mix fruit pastry was fresh and creamy topped with fresh fruits. It is mildly sweetened and vanishes in your mouth leaving you with a desire for more.
They promised us some tea infused desserts on our next visit.
HOW MAY I HELP YOU!
The servers are very well versed with the servings. The higher management made a special effort to explain you the characteristics of each tea they serve, which made us love what we were sipping all the more. The passion with which they try to deliver that perfect cup of tea is clearly reflected in their servings.
HAWK EYE VIEW!
Tea Trails goes out to prove that serving tea is not everyone’s cup of tea! The immense knowledge and expertise about tea has made them stand out of the lot and we hope that the concept of having tea houses flourishes more prominent under their brand to make available exotic teas from across the globe in India and to get better than the abundant coffee shops.
Visit again: Yes
Bubble tea, Kashmiri Kahwa, Kulhad ki Chai, Red Zen, Three Cheese Risotto & Onion Pakoda