Some call this their Elixir of Life. For some, this is their Holy Grail. A Chinese stamp that is loved by the entire world.
Recently, I got a chance to visit the new outlet of Tea Trails, opened in Anna Nagar, Chennai. This was a place that I longed to go and when I got an opportunity to be their guest, my joy knew no bounds. After what seemed an eternity of searching and cursing the Google Maps, I located the place and walked in, to be welcomed by the Manager of the store.
He started off by explaining that Chai and Tea were two different things. While I have been a fan of the classic cardamom and ginger tea for a long time now, I hadn’t really thought about the difference between the two terms. Apparently, Tea is the version without milk and sugar, while Chai is the more Indianised version that we consume with milk and sugar.
Tea Pairings are more like Wine pairings. Not every food-tea combo is good. Some teas complement a particular kind of food, while some just doesn’t go well together!
I had the fortune to try out a fair share of the menu, along with its respective pairs. Silver Needle- Bun Maska, Kashmiri Kahwa- Burmese Tea Salad, Lapsang Souchong- Smoked Paneer Sandwich, Irani Chai- Onion Pakoras, Red Zen, a few other coolers and food, finally a dessert.
Silver Needle- Bun Maska
Silver Needle is a variety of white tea. It had a very mild taste and was very light when consumed. It is paired with the classic Bun Maska, which is sugar filled mild bun topped with a dollop of butter. The combination was elegant and light even when had together.
The Silver Needle- White Tea
Kashmiri Kahwa- Burmese Tea Salad
Next up was a brew of Green Tea, called as Kashmiri Kahwa. This one is had with almonds, saffron and other Indian Spices that gives it the distinct aroma of Indian Biryani. Pairing this up with a Salad is because of the low-calorie value of both the items, giving the health conscious people the full benefit of the tea. I loved the salad for it was crunchy at places owing to the occasional roasted Split Bengal Gram in it. Surprisingly, the salad also had infused green tea leaves that blended well with the brew I had with me.
The Kashmiri Kahwa in the black cup and a plate of the Burmese Tea Salad, infused with Green Tea leaves
Lapsang Souchong- Smoked Paneer Sandwich
This is a Chinese Smoked variety of Black tea, which takes a little over 3 minutes to brew. The tea has its smoky aroma and aftertaste which is paired with a paneer sandwich. This variety of tea is a tad heavy and is aptly paired with a heavy food item. Well that being said, smoky dishes are not for everyone, so use your discretion while ordering this. I personally loved my smoky black tea.
Lapsang Souchong- Smoked Black Tea
Smoked Paneer Sandwich and Curly Fries with Tomato Ketchup
Irani Chai- Onion Pakoras
Now we enter the Indian Chai domain. The Hyderabadi Special Irani chai was up for tasting and it was sweeeeeet (Yeah! That sweet). Being over-sweet is its trademark. Take sips of hot chai with bits of piping hot Onion Pakoras, that should be ideal for a rainy day.
Irani Chai- the sweet tea
Onion Pakoras with Spicy Coriander Chutney
Did you know?! Irani Chai is made with Condensed milk which is the reason for its extra-sweet taste
This was another brew of hot tea that blew me away. This is technically not a variety of tea, but a tisane. Tisane is herbal extracts that do not form part of the tea family. Red Zen is one such extract of herbs, fruits, and flowers. It has a springy aroma which might remind you of some distant memory of Pot Pourri and may seem feminine for some of you. The taste was brilliant and refreshing, true to its name.
What about people who are not into hot teas but need something to cool their spirits? Fret not, for I also happened to try out some of their varieties of cool beverages.
Lychee Bubble Tea
The Classic tea, strongly flavoured of Litchies, with flavour-filled bubbles popping in my mouth. I would actually prefer to have the chewy variety of bubbles than the poppy ones (You can inform them of your choice when you place the order, actually). Nothing out of the ordinary, I found this too strong to my liking.
This Japanese Green tea is blended with cold milk and some butterscotch essence to present a rather heavy drink to the customer. The taste was good, with very slight trace of green tea. A healthy option when compared to the traditional milk shakes.
A rather controversial name, this drink is a mix of herbs, mint, and green tea. It reminded me of the mint lime coolers available in the market and was refreshing. A definite choice to beat the heat.
Veg Ham Bruschetta
I love bruschettas. The ones that were available here was well made with chunks of mushroom and basil leaves on the warm cheese. It was yummy and the taste lingers for quite a while.
Again a heavy choice, which would go well with glasses of coolers, the pizza was generous in its toppings. So much so that I felt the thin crust was not able to handle the weight of all the cheese, sauces and the paneer chunks on its head. Extremely tasty, could have been cooked a little more, since the crust was still white and kinda raw.
Lychee Bubble Tea
The Matcha Shake
Veg Ham bruschetta
Alfredo Penne Pasta
One just can’t have enough pasta. Let’s agree on that for peace to prevail. Well-cooked, amply loaded with black olives, capsicum, zucchini and chunks of tomatoes, the pasta had a distinct taste other than that of cheese. I think it extracted more of the zucchini pieces than what was necessary. The texture and the consistency were good though.
The Alfredo Penne garnished with the usual suspects- The Oregano and Chilli Flakes
Schezwan Vada Pav
A Chinese twist to the desi vada pav, this was more like a potato pattice pav. Very yummy and piping hot, with all the right flavours, I enjoyed this one.
Schezwan Vada Pav
Dessert- Chocolate Waffle with sauce and nuts
Freshly made choco waffles generously topped with Hershey’s chocolate sauce and nuts are enough to make a girl go weak in the knees. I would have still preferred those brownies to waffles.
Choco Waffles with Chocolate sauces and nut toppings
All teas are freshly brewed and can be refilled twice each time you order, making it value for money
Each order of tea comes in a tray of steeping pot, a cup and a saucer with a timer. The card in the tray indicates how much time the brew must be steeped for and lets you handle it from there. If you need a stronger brew, feel free to dabble with the timing accordingly.
The food is on the higher side of pricing. It sure is tasty and is suitable for those once-in-a-while cravings or splurging. Who doesn’t like that occasional pampering right?
The ambiance is great and so is the decor, which makes the outing picture-worthy. The people in there are cordial and warm, serving us with a smile.
The parking space is sufficient for two-wheelers and cars can be parked on the side of the road since this store is located at the fag end of an underused road.
My Picks- Kashmiri Kahwa with the Burmese Tea Salad, and a serving of the Red Zen
I had a great time and would recommend you to take yourself on a date to Tea Trails and experience it yourself.
*This is a sponsored post, although the feedback is honest*