The Qatar Eating Team waited with bated breath recently to try out the new Indian Afternoon Tea at the Luxe Lounge in the Westin Doha. We smelled the aromatic scents of spice and cardamon as the display was placed before us – it was a good start.
Familiar savoury and sweet Indian snacks take pride of place for this limited promotion. Running until November 4th 2016, it has been put together to celebrate Diwali – the Festival of Lights – by showcasing Indian flavours to the Doha market.
Indian Afternoon Tea in Doha?
Diners can expect the following savoury specials: Aloo Papdi Chaat, Onion Pakora, Pav Bhaji, Vegetable Samosas, Chicken Tikka Wraps, and Paneer Cheese Wraps. Whilst the sweets include a Cardamon Pound Cake, Rose Falooda, Soan Papdi Mithai, and Nan Khatai biscuits.
The Afternoon Tea is served with a cardamon-imbued Indian Masala Chai that cuts the spice of the savouries perfectly. This is no weak chai-flavoured water, rather it has been cooked the ‘proper’ way with milk and real spices. (Diners can choose between a selection of loose or herbal teas if they prefer alternative options). Our suggestion try the menu with the sweet and milky Masala Chai, which has flavours reminiscent of Karak for those who haven’t tried it before.
Diners may be familiar with Indian spices and flavours, but the sheer variety and scale of regional cuisines provides an opportunity for an interesting tea experience.
The Westin’s Indian Afternoon Tea has made a good first impression by highlighting the crisp and spicy Aloo Papdi Chaat and flavourful Pav Bhaji, both popular street foods in the Indian subcontinent. For those who have not tried these dishes before they are a tasty and authentic rendition, thanks to the Indian chefs at Westin.
More street food snacks come in the form of Vegetable Samosas and Onion Pakoras – both are familiar across the world, and are authentically Indian. And in our humble opinion (biased due to our love for chutneys) the Westin Doha need to jar their mint and tamarind chutneys and give them away for the celebrations!
Their samosa has a rich and buttery pastry, whilst the pakoras are crispy fried delights compared to the bloated dough balls that many in the West may expect from bad renditions from their local Indian takeaway joint.
The ‘sandwich’ element is provided with a choice of Paneer Cheese or Chicken Tikka Wraps; again Indian spices and seasonings lift the Afternoon Tea into an authentic experience.
For some the spice levels may be a little high, so if you can’t handle your spice be sure to slurp (or sip!) the milky sweet Masala Chai which helps to cut down the heat.
Although there is an emphasis on the savoury in the Indian Afternoon Tea menu, there is variety in the sweets section with cake, biscuit, ‘pudding’ and ‘fudge’ covered. Traditional Indian recipes have been used, but thankfully the selection has ensured diners don’t have overly sweet desserts.
The fragrant Rose Falooda is the sweetest thing on the menu, which is a surprise because we expected the fudge-like Soan Papdi Mithai to physically hurt out teeth! For those who are familiar with Halwa, Patisa, Pismaniye or Yashmak you will have some understanding as to what we mean when we describe it as a delicate sweet that melts in the mouth like spun sugar or candy floss!
Against all this sweetness the Nan Khatai (almond shortbread cookie) and Cardamon Pound Cake bring a delicate sense of balance, and are enjoyed best paired with the Masala Chai.
Unexpectedly and satisfyingly good – although we need more of the Chaat! We would have loved a more whimsical presentation (yes, we were expecting a tiffin dhaba-style presentation), but the flavours speak for themselves. It’s an mini ode to Indian street food coupled with favourites from dadi’s (grandma’s) kitchen!
For those of you looking to spice up your Afternoon tea experience it isn’t to be missed. Whilst the pricing at QAR140 for 2 (and diners can also use their Entertainer vouchers!) makes it a fantastic value-for-money promotion.
For more information and bookings contact Luxe Lounge on +974 4492 1555 or email [email protected]
Qatar Eating was a guest of the Westin Doha.