Tag Archives: tea

Chai Tea? Is that a Martial Art?

Seriously, who helped name that on the menu? Chai Tea!

It is like naming your bolognese Noodles Spaghetti. Now, you wouldn’t do that, would you? Then why have Chai Tea on your menu?

Separating the Chai from Tea
Separating the Chai from Tea

Let me explain – tea in the Indian sub-continent, and a few neighbouring countries, is called Chai. Unless, a few restaurants in Dubai really want to “over emphasize” that they serve tea, I feel such naming should be scrapped outright. Yes, “over emphasize” is a moronic expression and completely incorrect, much like “more happier”. As is Chai Tea!

If restaurants serving spiced tea that incorporates cardamom, cinnamon, milk and sugar etc want to highlight that, then it should be called Masala Chai or Masala Tea. Not Chai Tea.

And on behalf of many in the industry of food writing and appreciation, I would issue a warning not to name dishes like mentioned below:

  • Coffee Cafe
  • Biryani Pulao
  • Pilaff Pulao
  • Saffron Zafran
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Right Down To The Last Drop

Orphaned Drink!
Orphaned Drink!

Why? Why would you orphan the last 10% of your drink? Why would you leave it sitting at the base of your fancy glass like it was never meant to be consumed? It has the same stock as the rest of the drink, yet, it doesn’t find favour with many. Why must you punish the remainder? And for what fault?

I find it discriminating. If you like a drink, slurp it down, right to the last drop. I was once told, during my impressionable years that leaving a bit of your drink is a sign that you are rather well-off. It made an indelible impression on me, till today. Thankfully I never tried showing off my social status by leaving a swig of my drink.  If I like the drink, I drink up, my friend. Life’s too short and insipid without a good drink. OK, that may be taking it a bit far although I’m assuming you get my hint.

That's How It Is Done!
That’s How It Is Done!

I have always finished my drink. I have done this for as long as I remember. And there is no embarrassment in sounding like a hoover while sucking a drink in a coffee shop. I might have cause my fellow coffee shop drinkers some cause of shock and dismay. I appreciate their swallowing that surprise with their drink. I might have been the object of aural apathy each time I slurped a cold coffee through a drinking straw. Surprisingly, it has always added to the taste!

Follow Instructions - Simple!
Follow Instructions – Simple!

I propose that we change this behaviour of leaving residue. Back me on this, my fellow food bloggers and writers, a good drink must meet its fate, right down till the last drop. It was not without a reason that we have the urban adage of ‘bottoms up’. If so, then we have been hypocritical at times by leaving a sad 5mls of drink.

Bloomsbury’s Artisan Bakery – for your cup of joy!

Ooh it is a tough task to get me to Dubai Mall; and that too on a Friday. Truth be told, I don’t remember where I came from and where I need to go. As a man who prides his in-built GPS sense, there is a stereo-typical shame in admitting that I am foxed by the ‘exit’ signage. Besides, on a Friday, Dubai Mall is a test in negotiating skills more than I have used all week. I accepted to visit Bloomsbury’s Artisan Bakery in Dubai Mall rather gingerly. I didn’t fancy cup-cakes either.

The Bloomsbury's Parlour
The Bloomsbury’s Parlour

And there I found myself driving to Dubai Mall with my wife and toddler in tow for a promised cosy and lazy breakfast. We managed to get to the store which is located twixt the fountain and Wafi Gourmet.

The delicious war-cry!
The delicious war-cry!

Bloomsbury’s – the Boutique Café and Artisan bakery is a home-grown and chef driven concept with all recipes created from scratch using the finest ingredients available seasonally. From cupcakes, confectioneries, the famous high tea, and afternoon tea, Bloomsbury’s serve a fine selection of tea from all over the world.

Bloomsbury's Artisan Bakery
Bloomsbury’s Artisan Bakery

While I was waiting to be served, I was sniffing around their fancy tea test tubes containing some fine mix of teas – some refreshing and some with a vigorous flavor. However, I settled for a cup of strong coffee, since that is my favourite poison.

Advait digging into his cupcake
Advait digging into his cupcake

My son found the quaint café quite interesting, more so as he leafed through a book on London while the smiling hostess put a strawberry cupcake in front of him and a ‘red velvet’ in front of us. The clever boy that he is, he didn’t wait any time in celebrating his cheat-day by digging into the smooth icing on the cupcake. I slowly advanced towards the ‘red velvet’ with some dramatic music in my head – cupcakes give you a sugar rush with the icing that will last you a rugby match – and when I spooned in the first swirl of the icing, I was blown over! Soft, creamy, clearly fresh cream cheese and with the sweetness fine-tuned to perfection! OK, then Bloomsbury’s – you are winning me over!

I walked over to the display to run a look at the motley collection of cupcakes that flaunt over 30 different flavours. The friendly store manager Mayank pointed out that the café has a unique rating system for all their products. That way, only the tops ‘stars’ are served to Bloomsbury’s patrons. Suddenly, I realized the pressure of being a cupcake!

The Hero - chocolate fudge cake
The Hero – chocolate fudge cake

I noticed this very artistic, golden hued chocolate fudge cake. It is Bloomsbury’s big ticket item that has seen unprecedented popularity thanks to its shape, size, texture and hue. Have a special occasion in mind? Book this good-looking baby. And there’s more, Bloomsbury’s also creates bespoke cakes / cupcakes for special days like birthdays, weddings, bridal showers, baby showers et al.

Fresh off the oven!
Fresh off the oven!

I sat down for my breakfast that consisted of oven-fresh flavoured croissant and coffee. Wife and I cooed over the zaa’tar croissant and the cheese variant. They were flaky, perfectly baked with the heat permeating to the deepest inner folds of flour. This is croissant could have you go silent for some time.

Coffee and more!
Coffee and more!

Set your Bloomsbury’s date at the Dubai Mall, near Wafi Gourmet with the café open from 10AM till midnight on weekdays and extending an hour on weekends.

In Abu Dhabi, find them at Al Wahda Mall, Mushrif Mall and Y Tower Building. In case you fancy a drive up to Ras Al Khaimah, look for Bloomsbury’s at the newly opened RAK Mall.

Fresh ingredients, aesthetic and artistic, and made hot off the oven, daily, Bloomsbury’s Artisan Bakery is that perfect place to sit with a book or watch shoppers walk past with a hot, buttered croissant or decadent cupcake and coffee.

Hones-TEA-ly Speaking

Tea as it should be!

I am probably writing this out of frustration that has built over the years.

So, let me come straight to the point. Tea and milk are not the best of friends, so be careful while mixing them. If you ask me, they shouldn’t be mixed at all. I will not hark you back to 2007 BBC report about why black tea is better at combating cancer as opposed to tea with milk. Neither will I explain in detail about scientists who feel that tea helps weight loss but the effects gets cancelled if you add milk.

All I am trying to say is that, let us all understand the process of tea making so that we know when to add the milk. Please DO NOT dunk in a tea bag in a cup full of warm milk. You will get a cup of tea stains. Am sure, you would not want to sit through the best part of your evening dipping your tea bag in milky solution, in the faintest hope that one day, it will turn to tea, the way you want it.

Tea is delicate. It needs to be infused well. When you throw in tea leaves or slip in a tea bag, watch how the rich trail of orange and brown tea slowly emanates and starts to colour. Good. Let that flow. See that? Happiness!

So what happens when milk is poured into this? Or let us ask, why doesn’t tea infuse well with milk? The answer lies in the fact that milk is thicker than water. So, the consistency or liquor (or brew, if you please) is not achieved however long you dip, dunk, squeeze, pray, cajole or brow-beat your tea. This amounts to tea-abuse.

I come from the nation of milk-tea drinkers. Add to that a milk-tea colonial history as well. But pardon me as I beg to consume my tea, my way. As opposed to the colourless, tasteless rainwater that is served as tea, I prefer my tea well-brewed, without milk, with a hint of sugar. Thank you.