Amongst the many 'high tea' experiences available at a steep cost, here's a roundup of Mumbai's quirkiest an affordable tea shops.
The Tea Centre
Resham Bhavan, Churchgate
Run by the Tea Board of India, this 40-year-old establishment has old world charm and premium teas in a pristine china tea cup. The menu offers a wide variety of teas sorted by sourcing region — Darjeeling, Nilgiri, Assam — as well as some speciality teas. The Maharani of Darjeeling (Rs150 for a pot of two) has a lovely silky texture and a fragrant tang. Try the Rose and Butter Apple (Rs110 for a pot of two) for their wonderfully cheery bouquets.
The Capital Building, BKC and Viviana Mall, Thane
Sample a wide variety of international teas such as Turkish black tea (Rs110, caution, this one's strong!), Japanese Sencha (Rs150) amongst a wide variety of hot and iced teas. Sip on the superb green tea based Taiwanese bubble tea (Rs110), available in lychee and mango flavours for a festival of flavours on the palate. As you drink in the tea trivia that line the walls, nibble on the snack menu which includes offbeat marbled eggs and tea infused Burmese salad (Rs150).
Wagh Bakri Tea Lounge
Vile Parle (E) and Diamond Bourse, BKC
Established as 'a community lounge' five years ago by the Wagh Bakri Tea Company, WBTL (as college students frequenting the Vile Parle outlet call it) is one of the pioneers in the tea lounge space. Sample teas from Wagh Bakri's own expansive tea blend range. For those with adventurous palates, try the Tea with Butterscotch Icecream (Rs150), an odd but strangely pleasing concoction. Their small eats menu includes bun maska, khari and dhokla (Rs80 per plate).
Tapri Tea Lounge
Maryland Corner, TV Chidambaram Marg, Sion
This little café is only a few months old. The menu boasts of a wide variety of spiced, speciality, exotic and imported teas. The Genmaicha (Japanese, Rs180) with its serene flavour calls for a reverent sit down experience as does the Roohibos (South African, Rs90) and the Peppermint Blast Tea (Rs90). The snacks are pared down to the basics as accompaniments to the gorgeous brews. Make the trip to this power packed outlet, which is open seven days a week.
Koolar & Co.
Dr Ambedkar Rd, Adenwada Rd, Matunga (E)
No tea centric thought can be complete without the mention of the Special Tea at a typical Irani café , Mumbai's oldest tea houses. My favourite is the Iranian Black Tea (Rs20). Light and fragrant, it's best enjoyed with authentic mawa cake. The Istanbul Tea (Rs20) is very bitter, very dark and a punch in the eye on a sleepy morning. The Special Tea is exactly that — special, creamy and thick sweet. Classic Irani café fare is available, and you must try the fantastic kheema pav.