We entered Tea Trails, the new, cosy café at Bandra-Kurla Complex, and saw the predictable snacks lined up behind glass counters — pizzas and rolls covered with a film of plastic, Black Forest pastry and the likes. Then, we ran our eyes through the tea menu, which we were specifically there for.
The Tea Explorer comprises any four teas of your choice, and is served with palmiers, cheese sticks and cookies. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar
Tea Trails offers an array of hot and iced teas. There are international varieties, such as Yerba Mate (Argentina) and Fruity Seylon (Sri Lanka), classic brews including Earl Grey, green teas, tisane and Taiwanese Bubble Teas. They also have salads, rolls, sandwiches, tarts and cakes.
The lychee-flavoured Taiwanese Bubble Tea
We began with the Tea Explorer (Rs 250), which offers a choice of four teas. After we were done toying with the pretty little tea cups, we started with something we were fairly familiar with — the Chamomile Green tea — and were reassured at the light, delicate after-taste it left behind. Oolong, on the other hand, has a traditional Chinese tea and is made after its leaves are withered and semi-oxidised. The result is memorable and woody, and, true to its name, a notch lower than the strong, oxidised flavour we expected.
We then moved to the Rooibos, which is a South African specialty, whose colour immediately makes us think of the African cliché – wild, deep red horizons at sunset. We also think of Mma Ramotswe, Botswana’s first lady detective in Alexander McCall Smith’s much-loved series, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. She is devoted to “not ordinary tea”, but to Rooibos (bush tea), and is her answer to any bad situation. We now know why — Rooibos is caffeine free, yet has an intense, full-bodied texture which is unlike anything we had had before.
It was, however, the tisane, Turkish Red Apple (R95), that has levitating properties. Pieces of soft apple floated in a light pink-and-red liquid and one sip took us to Turkey, to a far-away land of colourful, labyrinthine bazaars and intimate conversations. The Turkish Red Apple did have the taste of travel.
Reluctantly, we moved on to the iced teas, and sipped the Spiked Mango iced tea (R80), which smarted our throats. One of us wasn’t impressed with the artificial, canned taste of the mango in it but quite enjoyed the jolt of red chilli powder. The other, however, wouldn’t have another sip of the drink. We moved to the Lychee-flavoured Taiwanese Bubble Tea, and spotted ample marble-sized balls resting at the bottom of the glass. We looked this way and that, conjectured what they would taste like, and concluded that they had to be chewy, jello-like at most.
So we scooped some out, bit right in and came up laughing at the identical startled expression on each other’s faces, as if we had been hit by water balloons. It was a bit like that — the bubbles in the tea burst in our mouth and we were left with litchi juice swirling merrily inside. After we got over the surprise, we agreed that the tea was just what one needs to ease summer-
If you love all things tea, you you’re in for an evening of mood-enhancers. And if don’t, drop in to know what faraway lands taste like until you actually land on them.
Food: Delicate, flavoursome
At: The Capital, Tea Trails wing B, third floor, Sky Lobby, BKC, Bandra East