AN AUTHENTIC INDIAN AFTERNOON TEA AT THE CITY ROOMS, LEICESTER
It’s no secret, us Brits love the great British constitution of afternoon tea! We British love that great constitution of Afternoon Tea but what if we combined it with one of our favourite international foods, Indian?! Well that is exactly what I went to find out when The City Rooms based in Leicester City Centre hosted an Indian Afternoon Tea
We enjoyed the Indian Afternoon Tea at The City Rooms in exchange for this review article. All views and opinions are our own and therefore remain a copyright of be-lavie. For further information, read our Disclosure Policy
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The City Rooms
This building built in 1800 was intended to be the city’s first hotel as it is located on Hotel Street. There is a stunning ballroom on the first floor, which is used for weddings, parties, afternoon tea, banquets, balls, meetings and auctions. The City Rooms were once also a house for Barristers. Thankfully it is now used as a venue and hosts a very small boutique hotel.
When you enter The City Rooms, it most certainly has the wow factor, which is a far cry from it’s busy City Centre location. You are met with the grand staircase right in front of you and a stunning chandelier at its base.
The Beautiful Bar
Before tea is served a pre-drink mocktail will be pressed into your hand while you wait to be seated. We used this time to mooch into the beautiful bar and reminisce of our big day having candid shots in here!
Once welcomed into the Grand Ballroom, another drink is quickly pressed into your hand before being shown to your table. The non-alcoholic Indian Afternoon Tea option includes a choice of choice of elderflower fizz or Mango Lassi. The alcoholic option is a glass Prosecco.
The Grand Ballroom
Admire the grandeur of teh ballroom as you enter through its double doors and see this airy space with its high ceilings, long windows, piano in the corner and cornice and panel work adorning the walls. Almost Baroque in its style with hues of mint, cream glistening from the chandeliers and candelabras.
The Room is transformed with artificial marigold garlands, drapes and colourful Indian decorations..
Soon after, settling into the grand surroundings of the ballroom, traditional Indian Masala Chai is served (which incidentally was replenished a few times!). The smell of the cardamon and spices coming from the tea in beautiful vintage china cups and the old Bollywood tunes of the 1960’s playing in the background set the perfect scene for the impending food service.
The Indian Afternoon Tea
The tea started with the savouries and we were presented with a Martini glass containing Bhel Puri, which consisted of sev (fine pieces of crunchy noodles made from chickpea paste containing subtle spices) and puffed rice incorporated with onions, potatoes, chaat masala and chutney with coriander to garnish. It was a perfect mix of spice, sweet and tart flavours and in India is a common street food variety’.
Next came the delights on the wooden board consisting of another Indian street food classic served tradionally in the state of Maharashtra, Pau Bhaji. This consists of a thick vegetable curry (Bhaji) which is served in a bread roll (Pau). The Chef served the rolls open, which gave them a colourful appearance against the grain of the wooden board. They were quite aptly named ‘Open Pau Bhaji Sandwich.’
Finally it was time to get started on the lower savoury tier of the china cake stand, which consisted of Spicy Dhokra pieces and Pizza Samosa. Dhokra are my absolute favourite and these were no exception and they were cooked to perfection and were soft and spongy, reminding me of the times we ate these as a family at the weekend for breakfast. They also originate from the state of Indian in the west known as The Gujerat, which is where a lot of my Indian family originate from. Dhokra are made with fermented batter derived from rice and split chickpeas. I also quite enjoyed the idea of Pizza Samosas, which were a twist on the traditional and instead some ingredients had been substituted with some sweetcorn and cheese
Last but not least the final layer of the cake stand consisted of some ginger biscuits, a classic cardamon cake and tradional Mithai. Mitha consists of those brightly coloured Indian sweets which are made from ghee, condensed milk and a lot of sugar. I promise they taste really good!
An Invitation Into The Kitchen
Just as we tenaciously finished that last piece of Mithai and knew this fantastic experience was coming to an end, We were invited into the kitchen to watch the in-house Indian chef, Rishi at work. It was a great touch to be able to see him work so professionally in his kitchen and watch in awe as he plated up the teas to perfection. It’s always a real privilege for me to thank the chef personally for their creations.
Indian Afternoon Tea at The City Rooms Round-Up
Don’t get me wrong, I’m British and I love a good Afternoon Tea but this really was a genius twist on the classic British constitution. The venue, the setting, the ambience, the special Indian street-food inspired fare was just delectable.
- The City Rooms. Hotel Street. Leicester. LE1 5AW. Tel. 0116 251 5337
- Website and for Indian Afternoon Tea dates: The City Rooms
- Price Range: £25 per person