A CELES TÉ-ial High Tea Under The Stars At Gallops, Mumbai

The month long Gallops Alfresco Cabanas make for a dreamlike set-up, a perfect backdrop to the high tea.

Warning: You may be subjected to a lot of tea puns ahead.

Mumbai’s iconic Gallops restaurant just got a whole lot more iconic with their month long Alfresco Cabanas. Add to that the first ever launch of CELES TÉ’s pop-up menu at the high tea, and you’ve got the perfect socially distanced evening.

With October winds playing the perfect supporting character, the high tea immediately presents an opportuni-tea to unwind and sample several brews accompanied by light small bites. 

CELES TÉ Artisanal Tea launches its first ever pop-up menu at the High Tea at Gallops Cabanas

Anubha Jhawar, Founder of CELES TÉ Artisanal Teas, has brought to the city of dreams an excellent opportunity to sample her hot and cold brews alongside Yajush Malik, Chef, Gallops. Having obtained a formal education under a tea master in London, Anubha has managed to create flavours that are both pleasantly refreshing and light on the palate. 

Carrying forward her father’s legacy as a master tea taster, she mentions, “There is no formal education for tea here in India yet. There’s one institution in Bangalore, but not really anything else. It’s mostly based on experience gained from years of working in the industry.”

The high tea offers options between soothing hot brews like Serendipity, or innovative cold brews like the Marrakesh Mojito. The well-curated snack menu holds a variety of luxury afternoon tea accompaniments like spiced carrot teacakes, salted caramel profiteroles (to die for!), chicken curry puffs, and more. 

Chicken curry puffs and spinach and ricotta vol au vents were just some of the delectable treats on the high tea menu!
Chicken Curry Puffs and Spinach and Ricotta Vol Au Vents were just some of the delectable treats on the high tea menu! Image: Caroline Felicia D’Almeida

Interestingly, British high tea initially began as a late evening snack for the working class. The ‘high’ came from the high dining tables used to serve. The elite communi-tea eventually appropriated the same, and it soon became an exclusive high society affair. While Anubha may have chosen the format to showcase her work, her work ethic involves giving back to the community. 

Take CELES TÉ’s tea bags, for example. Unlike most artisanal or commercial tea brands, Anubha gets her tea bags handmade from a women’s NGO, irrespective of corporate pushback. 

She says, “I want to make my own tea bags, I don’t just want to do what’s commercially viable. Because they’re not being entirely honest. They say it’s made of soilon, which is a biodegradable material, But I’ve done a lot of research which says it’s biodegradable only under certain conditions. What does that even mean?”

Anubha has also organically accounted for the buzzword of the moment – sustainabili-tea. The lack of artificial flavours like caramel in the blends and focus on high quality packaging makes for longer lasting and better tasting tea.

How does artisanal tea measure up to chai in a country like India then? Where ‘cutting’ remains a classic, CELES TÉ’ brings the promise of new flavours with health benefits to boot. A firm believer that healthy tea is not equal to green tea, Anubha believes the taste and health factor will help spread word in the community. 

“Blends like Serendipity are naturally sweet so you don’t need to add anything. I do a lot of events like these to make people taste this [artisanal tea] which helps them try new things. Unless you try things you will not know. Milk tea in India however, will always have its place,” she concedes. 

You can't miss the month long high tea by  celes té’ at the gallops alfresco cabanas
You can’t miss the month long High Tea by CELES TÉ’ at the Gallops Alfresco Cabanas. Image: Caroline Felicia D’Almeida

Cabanas, conversation, and climate aside, nothing can save the best high tea if not brewed right. Contrary to popular Indian opinion, it isn’t the continued boiling of tea leaves that extracts flavour. Boiling it burns the tea and releases tannins, which is what gives it the bitter flavour, adds Anubha. 

There’s something about a sip of perfectly brewed tea and a buttery shortbread to follow it with. As the golden day lazily transitions to a dark night sky, what better place to savour it all than at the cabanas?

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