In a bid to serve guests with the afternoon tea experience, food rooted in nostalgia and served with a twist, Vivanta by Taj have introduced Afternoon High Tea at The Grill, beside the pool. The high tea experience is served beside the rooftop pool and offers a beautiful view of the otherwise busy Begumpet area. Seating is either indoors, outdoors beside the pool or under a cabana nicely placed at the end of the pool.
I love the concept of a high tea. The only issue being, Indian meals are so filling and heavy on most days, that having and indulgent little snack at tea time leaves me no room for dinner. It’s a good idea to have a small snack early in the evening, to keep you going till dinner time.
I was invited for a special demonstration and to experience the offerings. Hosted by the enthusiastic Executive Sous Chef Arjun Yadav and ably supported by his team, the cooking demonstration involved showing us the making of one of their signature offerings – Lazeez Kumbh Galouti (which is a griddle cooked minced mushroom patty) and a deep fried Lady fish preparation.
We began with a round of introductions and the thought behind putting this kind of Afternoon High tea together. According to Chef Arjun Yadav, “The afternoon high tea is a stylized affair with an edge of the plate dining experience, offering petite sandwiches, tarts, tea bread, chocolate truffles along with Nizami delicacies, specially crafted to enchant our guests”
We were served pucca Hyderabadi chai in glass tumblers. Hyderabadi chai is characterised by a very strong decoction that has been boiled and not brewed. The milk is thick and sweetened with condensed milk in addition to sugar. This is the Irani chai that the city so loves. There is also an array of imported teas, soft beverages or even a pint of beer.
The demonstration for the Lazeez Khubh Galouti was very interesting. It is a multi step dish which involves boiling and grinding the mushrooms to a paste, adding a paste of cashews and a paste of deep fried onions, masalas and chick pea flour is used for binding the delicate mixture. Which is shaped into a patty and fried on the griddle. And the spice coated and deep fried Lady fish (it is also called Kane fish) was fresh, the subtle spices and rice flour give it a crisp exterior and keeps the inside very soft. These two items tho demonstrated are not part of the high tea spread.
The Grill boasts of a large menu for both vegetarian and non vegetarian and some dishes like the Tandoori Peri Peri Baby Potato served with a sprinkling of sev sounded very interesting.
The tea spread was colourful and a lot of the items on display piqued my interest. The Chef mentioned Pinwheel sandwiches which used typically Hyderabadi Potli Masala for flavouring the filling. While the sandwiches were very pretty, I couldn’t really taste the potli masala and it was a bit of a let down.
What stood out for me was the open sandwich that had fresh fig a poached pear, on rocket leaves. The mild sweetness from the pear and fig, complemented the rocket and crisp bread beautifully. And the fresh mozzarella topped with pesto and a cherry tomato – crisp bread, soft fresh creamy mozzarella and just a hint of pesto! Yum! There was a delightfully fresh broccoli sandwich too with steamed and lightly spiced broccoli.
The spread also included some Coleslaw sandwiches made with wheat bread, herbed chicken turnovers (a mild form of the crowd pleasing chicken curry puff), paneer tortilla wraps which I found rather dry, tho the salsa served with it was tangy and hit the right spots.
The spread is a sweet fiend’s dream! from the bite sized and perfectly made Almond financiers, Indulgent chocolate eclairs, simple fruit studded tea cakes, and an array of fresh fruit tarts.
My heart was set on the very apt Chai in a kettle set up complete with the glass tumblers and Osmania biscuits to go with it.
The Afternoon High Tea experience is open from 3:30 p.m to 5:30 p.m on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The buffet spread is prices at Rs. 500 + Taxes per person. If you would like to enjoy a relaxing dip in the pool along with your tea spread, the charges per person are Rs. 1000 + taxes.
Afternoon High Tea at The Grill, Vivanta by Taj, Begumpet, Hyderabad
Price: Rs. 1000+ taxes (includes a dip in the pool) for one and Rs. 500 + taxes (excluding the use of the pool)
Hours: 03:30 PM to 5:30 PM – Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Location: Vivanta by Taj, Begumpet, Hyderabad
Credit Card Accepted: Yes
Valet Parking: Available
Telephone: 040 67253647 or 9818354494
PS: I was invited for the cooking demonstration and to sample the spread by the hotel. The views however are unbiased and are my own.