What is Afternoon Tea?
‘Afternoon Tea is naturally tea-related, a traditional ritual, introduced in Britain in the early 1840s. It evolved as a mini meal to stem the hunger and anticipation of an evening meal at 8pm. Afternoon Tea is a meal composed of sandwiches (usually cut delicately into ‘fingers’), scones with clotted cream and jam, sweet pastries and cakes. ‘
I recently met an interesting lady through a friend of mine and instantly we got on really well, I found myself encouraging her to blog about her life experiences, especially the fact that she enjoys afternoon teas at various places. In conversation with this new found friend I found my mouth watering and thought I need to try out what all the fuss is about this so called ritual -Afternoon tea.
I looked on the internet and was delighted to learn that there is a whole new world out there when it comes to tea. I signed up with www.afternoontea.co.uk
As luck would have it, it was Afternoon Tea Week and offers galore, so I booked my first afternoon tea at Dawaat Restaurant Strand Palace Hotel who were offering 25% their Indian Afternoon Tea Usually £16.95, now only £12.71 per person.
Dawaat – meaning ‘Invite ‘was just too tempting as I read what was being offered by Head Chef Krishna Shankar who created a special Indian Afternoon Tea menu. Guests can enjoy an Indian twist to the traditional Afternoon Tea with treats including chicken tikka and coriander mini burger, cucumber with cheese and mango chutney wrap accompanied with sultana scones & Assam/Darjeeling tea.
I booked on line via bookatable.com, which was pretty straight forward. I can choose my date and time and just turn up!
I promptly arrived with my guest and was seated at a table of our choice. The waiter had asked what which ‘Afternoon Tea’ we had booked – I had to check my email as I did not realise it had a name –apparently it was Covent tea.
We were asked what kind of tea we wanted and we ask for cardamom tea, which unfortunately was not available so we settled for masala tea.
It was not long before our treats arrived – a 3 tier tray full of dainty sandwiches, scones and cakes. My guest and I looked a bit confused as we were expecting the alternative afternoon tea. I checked my email again and explained to the waiter what we had booked on line. The waiter apologised and removed the 3 tier tray. We waited patiently sipping on our tea.
When our tea arrived there was a sign of relief as it was exactly what I had ordered:
INDIAN AFTERNOON TEA
Chicken tikka and coriander mini burger
Cucumber, cheese and mango chutney wrap
Achari prawn open sandwich
Spiced shortbread (Mathri)
Sultana scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam
Victoria sponge cake
Mini fruit tart
Cardamom Chai (made to order)
The presentation was pleasing to the eye, the Indian platter freshly cooked and warm, just the right temperature to eat straight away. I would have preferred some sort of dip/chutney to accompany the onion pakora as it was dry finger foods. The chicken tikka burger was delicious and every bite was better than the last.
The 3 tier tray with a variety of cakes, exactly what you would have traditionally – they had taken away the finger sandwiches which they had on the first tray!
I was disappointed that they could not offer us the cardamom tea as that would have been the icing on the cake for me but overall it was the alternative experience to ‘Afternoon tea’ and a pleasant one at that.
The atmosphere was that of a restaurant, pleasant, clean and neutral colours, nothing really caught my eye as different. I expected it to be grander as it was part of the Strand Hotel. The staff or in our case the waiter was polite and attentive.
I cannot compare this ‘afternoon tea’ to any other but I can confidently say that I came away with a belly full of dainty treats – A fusion of east meets west.
Ms Safirah Irani