Those were the days my friend: Tea Centre, Churchgate, Mumbai

I went to the Tea Centre for the first time recently after the new management took over. Here's what I saw:

  • The overall look is the same. It still has this old Calcutta Club look. Very non Bombay.
  • The walls have been painted, the cobwebs and peeling paint have gone, the bells on the table are still there but seem newer, the bathrooms have got a makeover and seem less like the Churchgate station loos and there are cheerful posters instead of the earlier Government ministry like pictures of tea gardens
  • The range of ice teas have been drastically reduced. Apparently because they 'take more time'. The innovative ice tea cocktails have been replaced by synthetic, sugary, ice teas. A big thumbs down
  • A couple of us tries the honey apple butter tea. It was lovely. But I don't think it was as cloudy earlier
  • The dishes were quite good though the service was as slow as ever. We were told that continental dishes take more time than Indian dishes. A good thing to remember in the future. But the wait was worth it as Chicken Roller (sic), Thai curry, Shepherd's pie found favour with the foodies at our table
  • The scones are still there though they seemed a bit crusty. One of our lunchmates who has grown up in England said that the original scones are fluffier and larger
  • A lot of the staff are the same - though the white liveried uniforms have been replaced by a boring black with no turbans

Some of the pluses remain - quaint setting, reasonable prices, a mix of continental and Indian which helps when you are in a large group as we were.

But something was missing for me. Would I recommend it? Yes. Would I rhapsodise about it again? No!