Tea house with a modern twist 9 Reviews
What’s this you say? A tea house with a ‘modern twist’ in Oud Metha? Tea Junction, as the name suggests, specialises in tea. It’s also located on a T-junction, which is convenient.
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
Time Out Dubai,
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