On offer are dozens of Indian delicacies
London’s multicultural tapestry provides the perfect backdrop for exploring Desi afternoon tea.
A culinary heaven where Indian savouries and delectable sweets meet the charm of British teatime rituals and gorgeous crockery.
The beauty of experiencing Desi-themed afternoon teas in London is the combination of traditional and modern, which sums up the city perfectly.
There might be tiered trays of treats, but there will also be unusual, carefully crafted patisserie or deliciously savoury treats that are more than mini samosas.
Here are seven top destinations in London where you can embark on this gastronomic adventure.
Madhu’s of Mayfair
Located in The Dilly Hotel, Madhu’s serves up authentic Punjabi cuisine with a Kenyan twist.
On offer are dozens of Indian delicacies including expertly curated sandwiches, unmatched scones and several pots of delicious tea with a large selection of non-vegetarian, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes.
You can enjoy the stunning décor as you relax and unwind with sips of piping hot Tandoori Chai.
Pistachio and Truffle Tea combined harmoniously with a high-grown black tea is one not to be missed.
Or maybe you would like to experiment with Yellow Tea which has subtle notes of papaya and a touch of spiciness.
The décor makes for Instagram-worthy pictures, ensuring you will be showing off about it to your friends.
Taj 51 Buckingham Gate
Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residencies is a hotel resort in Westminster that offers afternoon tea with a plush interior and excellent hospitality that oozes fine dining.
As you enter the hotel grounds, there is a secret door that leads to a charming restaurant where you can experience the venue’s array of teas.
The lavish affair comes complete with a selection of authentic teas including homemade Masala Chai, Darjeeling First Flush and Gunpowder Tea.
Saffron and Cardamom Scones along with cardamom-flavoured clotted cream and jam will entice you.
Savoury options include Aloo Bonda Mango Chutney Buns, Scrambled Paneer Bhaji pastries and Mint Chutney Tarts.
Located in Covent Garden, Vivek Singh is the creative mind behind Cinnamon Bazaar.
The bespoke afternoon tea menu brings a traditional tea-time spread and is inspired by Vivek’s roots in West Bengal.
Set under pink drapes with a glass ceiling, illuminated hanging lanterns and eye-catching traditional teapots, this place offers a modern take on India’s bazaar food.
You can relish savoury snacks like a Mustard Fish Finger Sandwich, Panipuri and chaats or sweet treats such as Mishit Doi, Saffron Macaron or Coriander Pistachio Cake.
A selection of Indian spiced teas make the perfect finishing touch.
Located in The LaLiT hotel, Baluchi is a pan-Indian restaurant that offers Indian High-Chai.
Set in a historic Grade II building, Baluchi strives to serve a contemporary take on impeccable Indian dishes.
The menu takes inspiration from the major food regions of India to carefully craft an elegant cuisine, which is made from the finest organic ingredients.
Baluchi’s Indian High-Chai menu includes Tandoori Chicken Mini Burgers, Mumbai Bhel and Dhokla.
The London restaurant also serves sweet options such as the classic Gajar Ka Halwa.
In a sophisticated setting where every bite is a burst of flavour, Baluchi guarantees a delightful Desi afternoon tea.
Located in the converted Holborn Town Hall, Colonel Saab is hospitality guru Roop Partap Choudhary’s UK debut.
Colonel Saab is named after his father Colonel Manbeer, who was given the honorific name ‘Colonel Saab’.
The extravagant interior with swathes of burnt red walls adorned with artwork and furnishings and accentuated by high ceilings and extravagant crystal chandeliers are an Instagrammer’s dream.
There is a selection of finger dhokla sandwiches with mint chutney and onion bhajis sprinkled with pickle chaat masala.
Homemade coconut and Earl Grey cookies are delightful as are the macarons that are flavoured with rose and saffron shrikhand.
Finally, a selection of tea cakes is served with a choice of teas, including English Breakfast, Spiced Chai and Organic Darjeeling.
You can elevate your experience with the addition of champagne, adding an opulent touch to your afternoon tea.
Park Grand London Lancaster Gate is a boutique retreat that serves up a delicious Desi afternoon tea.
Upon arriving, guests receive a warm welcome by hotel staff and are escorted to the restaurant for the Indian afternoon tea experience.
The occasion is served with an attentive professional staff member assigned to each table, making it a relaxing affair while enjoying mouth-watering savouries and desserts.
There are chicken tikka and vegetarian sandwiches, kathi rolls, samosas, papdi chaat, pakoras and more.
Also on the menu are spiced sultana scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream, naan khatai, mango rice pudding and various mithai.
Besides the Masala Chai with the perfect blend of spices and milk, there is a selection of teas including Assam, Darjeeling and green.
Masala Zone has a number of restaurants situated throughout London but for an exciting experience, the restaurant in Piccadilly Circus is a must-visit.
Located in the historic 1873 Criterion Restaurant building, Masala Zone makes for an affordable yet memorable experience.
The interiors with contemporary and traditional Indian displays against red and orange floating wall panels are intriguing.
The colourful ethnic design teapots are eye-catching, adding to the traditional experience.
For the food, traditional finger sandwiches are reimagined with punchy flavours of chicken tikka, cheese and Indian herb chutneys.
From tasty chai and thandai, savoury lamb sliders, pakoras, Chettinad fish croquettes and samosas to gulab jamun, plum cake and more, this afternoon tea experience is lip-smackingly good.
These seven Desi afternoon tea experiences will give you the bliss of comforting traditional Indian flavours with the exciting innovation of contemporary interpretations.
Whether you’re a seasoned tea connoisseur or a curious foodie, London’s Desi afternoon tea scene promises to captivate your senses and leave you with wonderful memories of a unique culinary exploration.
So, raise your teacup and savour the intricate flavours of India in the heart of London – a city that never ceases to surprise and delight the masses.