Tea house with a modern twist
The first thing that struck me, and will strike anyone who visits Tea Junction, is how big it is. The cavernous venue looks better suited to a nightclub than a tea house – its mezzanine level would facilitate a great private area, the buffet counter would make for a great bar, and there’s even room for a DJ booth under the stairs. But far from being a loud, pumping place filled with bodies, Tea Junction is a rather surreal silent destination – there’s no background music, just the sound of voices echoing off the high, dome ceiling and the clink of crockery and cups.
I took a seat and tried to absorb the strangeness of the place. Though most tables were taken by young couples, groups of students huddled around their laptops and a couple of young mothers accompanied by pushchairs, the place still felt empty. But Tea Junction did appear to be reasonably popular with the local Indian community.
I started my meal by ordering a Cutting chai – a traditional Mumbai tea (‘all the way from the street vendours’ of the city, apparently) spiced with a tinge of ginger. The chai was served in a traditional short glass, and the milky brew within proved to be wonderfully authentic.
Whether the same can be said for the food (which like the venue was just downright bizarre), I’m unsure. Without really knowing what it was, I ordered a dish simply labelled as ‘fresh mint chutney’ as a starter. As exotic as this sounded, it arrived at my table in the form of a limp, brown-bread sandwich, with a slather of mint chutney inside, accompanied by a few slices of boiled potato, beetroot, onion and cucumber. Whether this was an authentic Mumbai dish, I wasn’t sure, but I was sure of one thing: I really didn’t like it.
In an attempt to erase the recent memory of my mint-sauce sandwich, I ordered another tea – this time the Zaffrani chai – an infusion of cardamom, sugar and saffron. It didn’t have the kick I was hoping for, but each of the ingredients could be deciphered and the drink put my meal back on track.
I desperately searched the menu for some kind of familiar Indian dish, though Tea Junction is a place for light snacks – not cooked food. As such, I opted for the roasted lamb on a bun. This proved to be marginally better, though the lamb was tough and chewy and any taste it might have had was drowned by the green onions and horseradish sauce.
I was increasingly grateful that I had come alone – anyone coming here hungry would be massively disappointed. But then, as I looked around at the other tables, I could see that I had missed the trick: I was the only one eating; everybody else was sipping a tea. Even for its regular customers, Tea Junction is not a place to eat. It is, as the name suggests, a place to drink tea. And, yes, it happens to be on a T-Junction.
The bill (for one)
1x Cutting chai Dhs4
1x Zaffrani chai Dhs5
1x Fresh mint chutney sandwich Dhs12
1x Roasted lamb on a bun Dhs21
Total (excluding service) Dhs42 Tea Junction
Asmita Singhi May 10, 2012 06:02 am
Great Place to relax and chill with your own type of cuppa tea!
Rahul Kothari May 07, 2012 09:34 am
To add, the prices and the timings are not correct. I dont think the reviewer has done his research properly on the store. I guess a re-visit is required as the restaurant was hardly 2 months old when this review was written.
Suma Kuruvilla Aug 03, 2011 11:33 am
If you want to enjoy a calm and serene environment that serves the best tea and food in town, albeit Indian or Continental, the Tea Junction Cafe is the place you definitely must not miss. The ambience is spectacular, with very passionate details that have been adorned to make this cafe a home away from home. The sofa's are unimaginably comfortable, forcing you to plonk yourself and think twice about leaving in a hurry. Once you make yourself comfortable, trust me you will not want to leave the place for a good 3-4 hours. The staff are warm and friendly and have an eye for detail and are sensitive to your special requests. What touched me most was apart from the large selection of over 30 omelettes and sandwiches, they are more than happy to make dishes that is not on the menu. Ask them for a home style spicy sausage (which is not on the menu), and tadaa, you have it on your table. I'm yet to hear the staff say "NO" to any of my requests. This is what I call exquisite service and the most important thing apart from the awesome food that encourages me to go back to the cafe every single day. Yes, you read right, I'm there every single day. Now for some of my favourite choices.. the steamed and fried Momo's ( out of this world), the Chillie Chicken wrap (mouth watering and spicy), the spicy sausage fry ( the chef puts his heart and soul into this dish), the Vada pav (running out of words to describe this awesome dish, Bread Pakora ( just like mum makes at home) , their fresh orange juice ( the best in the world - no kidding here), their cutting chai, Kashmiri chai, fruit tea, lavender tea, even their cappucino is really nice, can you beat that!!... I have pledged that I will try all the items on their menu, since Im yet to find one that I have not liked. So the challenge starts now as I write this, to try and then fill all you tea lovers on my review. Rushing off soon, to the "one and only" best place to chill and relax - The Tea Junction Cafe.
Rochelle Vaz Mar 22, 2011 05:18 am
Just read Oliver Robinson's review and I have to agree on a few things :
1) The cutting chai is "wonderfully authentic"
2) "Tea Junction is a place for light snacks – not cooked food" and REALLY YUMMY light snacks I might add :-)
I feel a bit bad for Oliver Robinson, cos he did mention that he didn't know what he was ordering and that he "missed the trick"..
Like he said, Tea Junction is immensely popular among Indian expats, or anyone who has an inkling about India's "adda" culture - a place where people come to hang out, sip some chai, and have a snack (or two, or three) . However, if you went in there thinking you're going in for a five course snob meal, it's quite obvious that one would come away "massively disappointed" . (You wouldn't go to a french restaurant and expect burger and fries....)
Personally, I LOVE the crepes there. I recently tried the Pakodas as well. (The chef was kind enough to oblige my no-onions request, and made them to my order - perfectly!)
The staff are always friendly and welcoming, whenever I've visited. (They all have great smiles, every time!)
I quite like the ambience of the place as well. It's a great place to hop across to after a long day of work, kick up your feet, lounge back in their comfy couches and spend some quality time catching up with friends.
Samantha Miranda Mar 22, 2011 04:35 am
Love the place, the food - the Crepes hmmm FULFILLING, Chai is a must have and the sandwiches are good. Great variety of omlettes and oh yes Mr. Oliver here (except his comment on the chai bit) has definitely got it all wrong. Location n' all.