Sip that cuppa in a tearoom

ANY TIME'S TEATIME The romance of tea comes alive at the tearoom

ANY TIME'S TEATIME The romance of tea comes alive at the tearoom   | Photo Credit: Photo: Vipinchandran

`Teapot', a tearoom just opened in Fort Kochi, showcases Indian teas. Here you can sip that cuppa in style with interesting eats

Coffee places dot cityscapes everywhere. Over heated, loud discussions, people drinking mugs and mugs of coffee, whether in stylish MNC joints or traditional Udupi hotels is commonplace. But tea is yet to get into the public psyche like that. The image of tea is confined to homes, where it is brewed with love, or at wayside chai shops, where over a hot cuppa, the latest village gossips are exchanged with or without malice, leisurely. `Teapot', which opened at Peter Celli Street, Fort Kochi, recently, is a tearoom. It is a cosy place, which treats the tea concept with élan. Though India is the largest grower of tea, and Kerala features high in tea geography, there are no tearooms here as in the Western countries or the North East, the other abode of tea in our country. "It is to fill that void that Teapot was conceived. As you can see, everything here boils down to tea," says Sanjay Damodaran, pointing to the décor and the furniture, with even the showpieces spelling T-E-A. What grabs your attention as you enter Teapot is the huge, glass centre table supported by an old, elegant tea bush, about six feet in diameter. It's obviously a great grand dad of a tea bush for it takes ages to have that wide a girth.

Tea decor

The tables are made of tea chests, their stencilled writings proudly proclaiming: Produce of India. The collection of over 100 teapots and kettles, at the tearoom, each tell a story, some of bygone Raj days and the others draw the visitor's attention with their off beat shapes. An antique camel saddle doubles up as a display stand. For visitors who want to acquaint themselves with cultural India, there are books to browse, on music and dance. Tea accessories like strainers, tea balls, tea cosies, milk jugs and sugar pots; the entire tea paraphernalia is on display. The paintings too talk tea: Ink drawings on paper, of cups and saucers, collected from all over India, prints of collage made from teabags; the work of a French artist impart the true taste of tea.Over 15 types of tea, ten of them flavoured, are served, piping hot or iced. Besides Darjeeling, Assam and Nilgiris, the in house blend is one that has local Kerala teas. Says Anant, a visitor, "This is a `propah place for a propah cup of tea," highlighting the fact that drinking tea is a ceremony in many cultures. The tearoom serves English breakfast, high tea that is snacks and afternoon tea, which stands in for light meals. Willy, who mans the kitchen, has different menus for each day, but his special `Indian Rarebit' a take on its Welsh counterpart is a tasty filling short eat that leaves you wondering, what exactly it's made of. "Simple" says Willy, smiling and moving over to the kitchen, to see to another customer's order. He cooked for the Merchant Ivory crew when they shot `Cotton Mary' in Fort Kochi. Pancakes with banana, a slice of orange cake, banana and walnut and the popular chocolate cake are served along with the tea of your choice.Tea tasting, like wine tasting, is an art. So one can go through the process of tea tasting, at the Teapot, if a request for the same is placed in advance. And as coffee is a sister beverage, Teapot serves regular coffee for the lovers of tea for they say, tea is like a husband, secure and comforting while coffee, is like a lover, thrilling. So, relaxing with tea and eats at Teapot, situated in a heritage zone, can be an unforgettable experience, for both the tourist and the Keralite, for the tea sommelier and the tea novice.PREMA MANMADHAN

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