For the American Mother’s Day, I decided to treat Mom again. Looking for something different from the usual brunch or dinner, I opted to take her for afternoon tea at Urban Eatery, especially since I had to top what Diva did: take Mom to Sketch in London for the ultimate afternoon tea. (DIVA’S GUEST BLOG POST COMING SOON!)
Urban Eatery is a unique concept restaurant set up in the style of an upscale food court with multiple gourmet dining options. From Mexican and Lebanese to Indian, Asian and Continental – there’s something for everyone. Urban High Tea is a recently-launched, fusion afternoon tea pairing of avant-garde Asian cuisine and classic British treats all served with Kenyan tea and an optional flute of champagne.
Usually only offered on Saturday afternoons from 12 noon to 6PM, Urban Eatery was hosting a special Sunday Afternoon Tea for Mother’s Day, complete with a live band and a children’s play area.
Having arrived at the busy establishment, I was so glad that I decided to book a table. However, to my surprise, while the table was in a wheelchair accessible area it was rather in the midst of many tables, forcing me to disturb fellow diners to access and exit the table.
I asked for the vegetarian afternoon tea (which must be requested for when reserving), while Dad ordered a plate of Vegetable Samosas and Aloo Poori Bhaji from their breakfast menu. Just a simple dish with potato curry and fluffy fried puris, the Aloo Poori Bhaji was delicious and the Samosas were scrumptious. While Mom and Dad shared these meals, I ordered the vegetarian afternoon tea. As I reserved the afternoon tea while booking, I was disappointed that it took long to arrive as I assumed that it was technically preordered.
I was excited to dig in once the three-tiered platter arrived. The bottom tier had a selection of assorted sandwiches and Asian rolls. The entire selection was Asian-inspired with mango chutney shining as the star of the bottom tier. There were a Cheese and Cucumber on White Bread with gouda cheese, cucumber and sweet mango chutney, a Mango Chutney Sandwich on White Bread and a Mini Vegetable Sandwich on Brown Bread. The Mini Vegetable Sandwich was open faced with cucumber, gouda cheese, cream cheese and topped off with a green olive. There is also an Egg Salad Sandwich on White Bread, and for non-vegetarians, there is an additional sandwich: a Mini Salmon Sandwich with smoked salmon, avocado, cream cheese, cucumber and capers. While I wasn’t quite impressed by the sandwich selection, I did appreciate the innovativeness of adding Indian mango chutney in these British-style sandwiches, inspired by the fusion dining concept of Urban Eatery itself.The Asian selection was composed of a Samakito Veg Sushi Sandwich, which was a sushi with avocado, carrot and cucumber shaped like a sandwich. It was the cutest and quite delicious. The non-vegetarian version has salmon. There was also a Philadelphia Roll which was wrapped like a sushi roll with rice paper, red pepper, cucumber, carrot and avocado. And there was a Vietnamese Summer Roll, with rice, red pepper, cucumber, carrot and avocado all wrapped in rice paper. Loving the freshness of the Vietnamese Summer Roll, I was only missing a sweet chili sauce to dip it in. All the rolls were served with soy sauce; though, I wished there was a separate dipping dish provided for the soy sauce because drizzling soy sauce over the sushi was a little messy, so I had to order another plate.
As we moved on to the middle tier, I realized that the sushi brought a unique aspect of freshness to the afternoon tea menu. There was a single Tea Scone served with whipped cream and strawberry jam. The delicious scone was hard and fairly crumbly, but the inside was soft. My favorite was the strawberry jam, which was simply moreish, but I was left yearning for clotted cream, which makes for a more authentic afternoon tea as opposed to whipped cream.On the top tier – the dessert tier, there were an array of cakes and cookies. There were Mini Eclairs – both vanilla and chocolate, Dark Chocolate Gateau, Nut Vanilla Cream Cake Gateau, Iced Mini Vanilla Cupcake with a cute pink frosting complete with a piped treble clef (if you can read music, you’ll love this touch), Butter Cookies and A Mini Strawberry Tart. Everything was quite delicious and I really adored the Nut Vanilla Cream Cake Gateau as it was very fresh and spongy. On the contrary, the dark chocolate gateau was dry but enjoyable. The eclairs were delightful as the choux pastry was so light and fluffy. The chocolate one was my favorite as it was just so sinfully luscious.I washed all this down with some Kenyan tea with milk. While always warming and yummy, I wish they paired a unique tea for the afternoon tea to keep with the theme.
While I enjoy afternoon tea and the whole dining leisurely experience, I find that a few discrepancies and slow service may have made my afternoon tea a little disappointing and underwhelming. Since a menu was not available prior to booking, I later realized that we were not served the Egg Salad Sandwich on White Bread, which I hear is phenomenal. I also realized that the Vietnamese Summer Roll was served without its accompanying sweet chili sauce.I find this fusion afternoon tea concept novel and exciting but I don’t see myself going back again, at least for a while due to the poor service and lack of consistency. But, it is definitely interesting and affordable at one platter per person at only Ksh. 1500/-, and you can enjoy a glass of bubbly just for an additional Ksh. 500/-.
Have you been for the Urban High Tea? Tell me your experiences in the comments below.
Photos, unless stated otherwise, by Hitesh Shah