The summers here in Delhi/NCR see a plethora of mango promotions, some of which sound downright unpleasant (read: Aam Papad Sushi!!) and some are surprisingly, well, very pleasant. Since mangoes happen to be among my top 5 favourite fruits, I try and sample as much of them as possible. Whether it’s the mango festival at Dilli Haat or high end menus at starred properties, I love mangoes! So when I was asked to attend the Mangolicious High Tea at Senses, Pullman Hotel, Gurgaon, I was completely on board. The High Tea was in collaboration with another brand which is dear to me, Anandini Tea. Anandini is a single estate classic collection, leaf tea blended with flowers, herbs & spices, it is by far one of the most ‘fresh’ and unique products available in this category and despite being an out and out coffee person, it is the only tea I drink. I prefer tea sans milk and sugar which is why no godawful teabag ever made the cut and I always found most Indian leaf teas to be very potent, either too smokey or too nutty and never balanced. The other draw for an event like this was of course Chef Tanveer Kwatra (Pullman, Gurgaon), a Chef’s who’s food I try not to miss and I’m glad I didn’t.
Chef and I had spoken of some of his plans for the menu at Senses out of which the Bao and the fresh Tacos were two dishes I was very keen on. Being trained from Australia, there is a definitive Aussie-Franco-Asian vibe in his food; three regions that do wonders to ingredients. Rain did try and play truant with the evening but there was fair attendance with all eyes on the food and tall glasses of Anandini Ice Teas. We tried the Anandini Classic Green Tea infused with Mango & Peach and hint of Ginger, Anandini Autumn Tea infused with Lychee & Chilli flakes and Anandini Classic Green Tea Aam Panna with Black salt, all of which were a revelation to the tea novice that I am. On the other hand if there is any ice tea I enjoy it’s the fresh kind and never the packaged ashen caster sugar that’s marketed as ice tea. My personal favourite for the evening was the Anandini Autumn Tea infused with Lychee & Chilli flakes where the kick of the chillies came like a little bite after a long, passionate kiss. These drinks were beautifully complemented with Mango based dishes created specially by Chef Kwatra. The menu read like a dream for a lover of mangoes – the Tacos were stellar as promised – I do hope they make it on the menu of Senses – BBQ Pork and Peking Duck with Raw Mango. I also enjoyed the Ceviche of Salmon with Chilli Roasted Coriander and Mango Vinaigrette but skipped the Lentil crusted cottage cheese and mango relish and Quinoa, pine nut and mango salad, fried palak patta. Among the sandwiches both the Smoked Chicken and Roasted Peppers were good but standard cafe fare. However, it was the dessert counter that deserves a special mention because for a change, each one was beautifully executed. Mango Pannacotta, Mango Mousse, Mango Brulee, Mango Danish, Mango Rice Pudding, Mango Swiss Rolls and brilliant Scones and Mango Marmalade.
These events are regularly curated across Delhi/NCR and the pricing includes the experience, a chance to discuss tea and the art of infusing teas, a fun contest or two and the food of course. Looking forward to more interesting pairings by Anandini. Until next time – “A cup of tea would restore my normality.” Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.