After 4 months travelling without a cup of ‘real tea’, I was pretty desperate to try the afternoon tea at the Imperial hotel in Delhi.
Often referred to as ‘High Tea’, afternoon tea means having a pot of tea with scones, finger sandwiches and cakes. Generally speaking it’s one of the great British delights in life.
Upon arriving in the Imperial I quickly found the Atrium cafe, where afternoon tea is served. The waiter brought over the menu, which contained a number of teas and coffees to choose from. As previously mentioned, I was gagging for a good cup of English Breakfast tea, and so that is what I ordered.
When poured the tea was a good strength, and the waiter was responsive to my request for “only a little bit of milk”. All in all a good brew.
The food, however, was slightly disappointing. Firstly it is a buffet, rather than select items served on a tea stand. This of course has some positive aspects, but it is not what I consider afternoon tea.
Additionally the food was not in keeping with the grandeur of the hotel. Think cheese cubes on sticks and breaded mushrooms (yes like the ones at Harvester!). There were no vegetarian finger sandwiches, and even the meat versions were lacking in variety (I think there were two).
The sweets were a bit better, for example there were some nice homemade chocolates. The scones were good, but the cream ran out and was not replaced. Also some of the cakes appeared a bit on the amateur side, for example butterfly cakes, similar to those at children’s birthday parties.
Given the cost of 1,400 rupees (plus tax), I find it hard to recommend the afternoon tea at The Imperial. It’s just lacking that bit of opulence that normally makes such outings enjoyable. The tea is good, so it that’s your top priority, then enjoy. But be prepared for the underwhelming food.
I also sampled the afternoon tea at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, which was by far superior. Therefore, if you only have time / money for one, make it the Taj rather than the Imperial.