Bangalore restaurant reviews Cafe/Coffee Shop

Tata Tea Launches Maiden Tea Cafe - Tata Cha in Bangalore!

Friday, November 03, 2017ruthdsouzap

I love tea - from good ol' Masala Chai, to Adrak Chai to Green Tea to Kullad Chai to Butter Tea, Jasmine tea... yes, yes I can ramble on about my love for tea. And considering we are a household with staunch coffee and tea lovers co-existing, there is always a battle on the superiority of beverages at home. I like to believe that I win all the time (I have statistics to boot that Karnataka drinks more tea than coffee to back me up) and so does the spouse.

My work as a freelance journalist takes me to all corners of the city and the one place I love having meetings is at tea cafes. There are a few in town but I have always found them to be of two extremes, with a handful of exceptions - So you either have a very immersive experience that requires all your attention to enjoy what you are having (getting highly distracting for work at times!) or a very base experience of standing around a tapri or cyclewallah and downing your chai with a quick biskoot to boot. I love both experiences but I honestly wished there was something that hit the middle line in style. 

I believe I have found that with the launch of Tata Cha - Tata Tea's flagship tea cafe at none other than 12th Main Indiranagar. Here is quick service restaurant (QSR) that gives you just the right ambiance to entertain anyone - from a date to a client and everyone in between. Want to work alone for the day - this fits the bill; want to catch up with the gang over a cuppa, things can be worked out; want a quick bite and chai because Bangalore traffic surprised you and you reached your destination much before your meeting - well Tata Cha is just the place you can hang out at. 

Now, why is it that Tata Cha works for me - let's start with the decor shall we? You know that feeling when you are standing on a road that is choc-a-bloc with places that you can stop by and you can't make a decision on where to head to? Tata Cha's facade stands bright and tall and beckons - even if you are on the wrong side of the road -  a peek at the warm hues on the inside, through the large glass facade makes you stop for a second look - which by and large means you will step inside. 

Once inside, the tea bar is what catches your attention - warm, inviting especially since you can also take a look at a tempting range of snacks stacked tall in glass jars on the wall and in the display unit. The seating at the cafe can have around 60 people, perfectly happily perched on cushioned stools, high chairs, sofas, mesh back chairs and waaaait for it... swings! Yup... I don't have a picture of the swings to share with you - but then come on - I need to give you something that you can look forward to seeing on your own.

The architects of Tata Cha had 1200 sqft of space to convert into this cafe and had some odd spaces to work with - considering it was once a classic styled home. Each of these corners have been smartly converted into a welcoming space...

Up here to the left you see how the corners and silhouettes are so characteristic of home - and have been converted into a huddle corner where a group can easily settle down. Who said the L-shape approach is meant only for those modular kitchens!

Or take this space (which was originally the driveway I am told) which is flanked on one side with a vertical metal showcase with knick knacks. High chairs with low rise backs and a very thoughtful shelf on the table to stash away that file, purse, laptop or mobile is fit in. And don't miss that round table that acts as a divider on the sofa seating straight ahead. Sit on either side of it or simply move it out of the way if you want to get the gang to take up all the sofa space.

And then you have this cute space atop a two-step elevation - perfect for that selfie that is now pretty much mandatory and quite the spot to snag when you are sitting down with your cup of tea.

Now that you know how cool this can be... let's explore the menu and teas now a bit shall we?

If there is one emotion that tea tends to evoke, it is that of warmth - Chai warmth is a real thing if you think about it. Nothing like cupping your hands around a glass of tea (thoughtfully all without handles here to enable just that). It makes you feel good on a cold day, peps you up, relaxes you, satiates you... we have all felt that chai warmth at some point and each have our stories to tell. The idea with the menu at Tata Cha is to evoke just that in a cafe setting. 

Your chai will come in one of these glasses. Tata Teas have done their homework when it comes to the curation of their tea menu. With more than 100 tea experiences garnered from across the country and cultures that love their teas, almost everyone will find something that they will instantly identify with.

The tea menu is split into Steaming Hot, Icy Cold and Specialty Origin Tea. And what's really good is that for someone like me who loves to munch of something with her chai, there is so much to choose from.

Let's start with the Dunkers. By and large a concept that has been part of any chai drinkers habitual cup, it has never really found its way sit-down cafe setting before. Tata Cha has scoured the country for top favourites and that's why in the lovely glass jars you see the likes of a crunchy, flaky Methi Khari, which teams up beautifully with a Classic Kadak Chai; the same can be said for the Masala Rusk which has a spicy after taste and dunks beautifully into a Masala Chai; the Kulfi Sticks with their sesame seed dusting are quite neutral in terms of flavour, making them a great option for just about any tea - but I would pick the Extra Doodh Chai to go with it; and if your tastes match mine, then the Cinnamon Rusk, its sweetness complemented by a generous cinnamon dusting is what you want to end on. All of the Dunkers are served in twos and your Chais are available in standard and large sizes.

If you want some long forgotten memory of childhood to be invoked thanks your tea - all you need to do is order from the Black Tea section - A Nimbu Da or Chatpata Churan and team that up with some Cream rolls and Kulfi Sticks. The Cream Rolls alone will take you back to those long lines spent at the school canteen or that dilapidated tuck shop outside school, with pocket money to pick some cones up.

Try some of the Fruity Cake with the Gur Chai or even the Gulkhand Chai if you feel like mixing it up a bit and getting all experimental. Some interesting food-meets-tea experiences to be had there.

Now what is really interesting about the food menu here at Tata Cha is that it is not all about the small eats. There may be a time when you will want something heavier - that doesn't really constitute finger food, yet is far from being a meal. At such times you can pair your a Classic Green or Peach Flavoured Green tea with some Chakri Samosas. Pretty to look at and very satisfying to pick apart and eat.

Another Chai warmth memory inducer (if I may have the privilege of concocting these terms), is the Adda Veg Cutlet. Thick, tear-drop shaped and packed to the gills with all that mummy would be very happy with, this is a mouthful that pairs especially well with some Assam Tea

Also on the menu is the classic Maharashtrian Dabeli, which is made with wheat pav if that makes you feel better about indulging - this with some of their Nilgiri Chai and I am a very sorted human being. What's not to love in a good Dabeli - the textures of soft, crunchy, crispy and the punch of the mint chutney can bring together some real magic.

And again, if you like something sweet to go with your Kadak Chai, may I suggest the Banana Kebab, oil-free, mind you; a savoury substitute would be the Soya Kebab - placed on skewers making eating and drinking your chai completely pleasurable. 

And the Hyderabadi Patti Samosas in Chicken will always be my pick on a menu (and you don't see these on menus too often outside of the stalls surrounding Shivajinagar here). Greasy, spicy and perked up with chutney if you want, these can be had with just about any chai - or if you feel the need to take break from chais - then with a Tangy Tamarind Fizzwala - Yes... the beverage menu does break away from teas and gives you some other interesting choices to try. 

The Tangy Tamarind Fizzwala to the left. Top Right is the Chilli Guava Ice Slush in front and the Masala Shikanji Fizzwala at the back. Bottom Right - The Rasmalai (quite the dessert in a glass) with the
Bun Maskafied

Specialty Origin Sikkim tea with some Dal Pakwan would be a great pairing. A Sindhi breakfast staple, you can break the rules a bit and indulge in this with your morning or afternoon break chai or simply because you have a hankering for it. The maida puris are in plain and masala versions and the dal itself thicky, creamy and very satisfying in terms of spicing. The thick tamarind chutney served alongside packs that additional punch.

And, a first as far as I see it, Tata Cha has introduced the concept of plated meals for one that can be paired with your chai - So you could try the Veg (Picture above) or Chicken Stew with steamed rice - with some Kadak chai. You could also go with the Butter Chicken (Below) or Paneer Makhani Khichdi with a tea of your choice (Psst... I would go with the Nimbu Da). The menu also features an amazing Muttar Kulchas, with the kulchas being very reminiscent of a road trip up in the hills up North.

The Butter Chicken Khichdi

Tata Cha aims to redefine the tea experience you get in a QSR space. The launch event recently was quite the eye-opener in terms of possibilities and truly bringing out that chai warmth that we are all familiar with. So if you are on 12th Main, this is the New Kid on the Block that you should try out. The loos are clean. A meal for two is approximately Rs 500. 

Tata Cha 
Phone: +91 9620141528
Cuisine: Teas and Pan Indian 
Price for 2: Rs 500

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