We British love that great constitution of Afternoon Tea but what if we combined it with one of our favourite international foods, Indian?! Well that is exactly what I went to find out when The City Rooms based in Leicester City Centre hosted an Indian Afternoon Tea
THE CITY ROOMS
A lot of you will already know that when our wedding plans fell through quite a few years back, for our idyllic wedding in Bali, we chose The City Rooms to host our wedding in the UK. We chose it for a number of reasons including its location, its history, the carefully restored building dating back to 1792 and for THAT grand ballroom where we hosted an intimate wedding breakfast and danced our first dance on the overhead balcony!
I had been itching to go back and see the venue and it seemed the Indian Afternoon Tea was the perfect opportunity to explore the Indian twist on such a classic British constitution.
When you enter The City Rooms, it most certainly has the wow factor, which is a far cry from it’s busy City Centre location. You are met with the grand staircase right in front of you and a stunning chandelier at its base.
Before tea is served a pre-drink mocktail will be pressed into your hand while you wait to be seated. We used this time to mooch into the beautiful bar and reminisce of our big day having candid shots in here!
Once seated, we were offered another drink to kick off the afternoon. As we opted with the non-alcoholic Indian Afternoon Tea option we were given a choice of elderflower fizz or Mango Lassi. The alcoholic option is a glass of Prosecco.
THE GRAND BALLROOM
Soon after, settling into the grand surroundings of the ballroom, we were offered some traditional Indian Masala Chai (which incidentally was replenished a few times!). The smell of the cardoman and spices coming from the tea in beautiful vintage china cups and the old Bollywood tunes of the 1960’s playing in the background set the perfect scene for the impending food service.
THE INDIAN FARE
The tea started with the savouries and we were presented with a Martini glass containing Bhel Puri, which consisted of sev (fine pieces of crunchy noodles made from chickpea paste containing subtle spices) and puffed rice incorporated with onions, potatoes, chaat masala and chutney with coriander to garnish. It was a perfect mix of spice, sweet and tart flavours and in India is a common street food variety’.
We then moved onto the delights on the wooden board consisting of another Indian street food classic served tradionally in the state of Maharashtra, Pau Bhaji. This consists of a thick vegetable curry (Bhaji) which is served in a bread roll (Pau). The Chef served the rolls open, which gave them a colourful appearance against the grain of the wooden board. They were quite aptly named ‘Open Pau Bhaji Sandwich.’
Finally it was time to get started on the lower savoury tier of the china cake stand, which consisted of Spicy Dhokra pieces and Pizza Samosa. Dhokra are my absolute favourite and these were no exception and they were cooked to perfection and were soft and spongy, reminding me of the times we ate these as a family at the weekend for breakfast. They also originate from the state of Indian in the west known as The Gujerat, which is where a lot of my Indian family originate from. Dhokra are made with fermented batter derived from rice and split chickpeas. I also quite enjoyed the idea of Pizza Samosas, which were a twist on the traditional and instead some ingredients had been substituted with some sweetcorn and cheese
Last but not least the final layer of the cake stand consisted of some ginger biscuits, a classic cardamon cake and tradional Mithai. Mitha consists of those brightly coloured Indian sweets which are made from ghee, condensed milk and a lot of sugar. I promise they taste really good!
AN INVITATION INTO THE KITCHEN
Just as I tenaciously finished that last piece of Mithai and knew this fantastic experience was coming to an end, I was invited into the kitchen to watch the in-house Indian chef, Rishi at work. It was a great touch to be able to see him work so professionally in his kitchen and watch in awe as he plated up the teas to perfection. It’s always a real privilege for me to thank the chef personally for their creations.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m British and I love a good Afternoon Tea but this really was a genius twist on the classic British constitution. The venue, the setting, the ambience, the special Indian street-food inspired fare was just delectable.
The Non-Alcoholic Indian Afternoon Tea is priced at £17.00 per person and the Alcoholic Tea which includes a glass of Prosecco is £22.00 per person. For more Information and upcoming dates on the Indian Afternoon Tea or other themed Teas in general, please visit The City Rooms.
Disclaimer: My Indian Afternoon Tea was complimentary however all views and opinions as always are my own.
The City Rooms
Leicester LE1 5AW
Tel : 0116 251 5337
So how do you feel about this Indian twist on the Great British Afternoon Tea? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below.
Until the next time…
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