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Dubai: Over a pot of Karak Chai

This was the first time I tasted her tea: more water, less milk and lots of sugar, as she'd been making it for 43 years now. It was a diluted version of the tea mum made at home, and the sweetest thing I'd ever tasted. Truth be told, I didn’t like it in the first sip nor even in the first few cups, yet over the following weeks I’d turned into a tea-addict.

— Excerpts, Over A Cup of Chai, The Trees Told Me So by Purva Grover

Each one of us enjoys our tea in a different way, be it when it comes to its preparation or type or accompaniments. For a few, tea spells grandma’s love, for many a cup makes their mornings brighter, countless speak of sharing the teatime with their partners... and for many like me (who is a coffee-addict), a cup of tea brings alive the memories of the university canteen and hence the simple, humble beverage is not just that for me, but an emotion; one that re-lived again over Karak Chai and Parle-G biscuits at Farzi Cafe, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, UAE.

Many readers ask me what is so special about the short story 'Over A Cup of Chai' in The Trees Told Me So — I think it’s a story which anyone who has been to a college/university can identify with; for it speaks of a bond that we form unknowingly over a cup of chai.

We form bonds — many are momentary and some last a lifetime. Yet, each time we look back, we recollect the good, bad, and ugly that made up for the best days of our lives. We all yearn to go back to those days of university. After all, there’s nothing better than getting a chance to rewind and rejoice.

Is the story partly autobiographical, I am asked? Well, the thoughts behind the story can be traced to the fact that my mother and I went to the same university (Panjab University, Chandigarh, India). In the small town, Chandigarh. We studied different subjects, though.

I guess we all cherish the days spent on the campus. Don't we?

Disclaimer: This is not a place where you will read food reviews; for food is an emotion and hence can’t be reviewed. I belong to the generation born in the era of ‘eating out' only on special occasions and one who has found herself growing older in the world of order-ins, takeaways and dine-outs both on weekdays and weekends as a norm. As I look back, I realise my vocabulary of adjectives to describe food was poor and tainted. I didn’t use words like yummy, tasty, out of the world, delectable, et al. Cuddles. Comfort. Goodnight kiss. Warm hugs. Excitement on winning the toy. Hugs. I created my own. I learnt about cooking and eating in an inimitable way, then.

The chai gets a makeover: high tea, anyone?

Hot on the heels of Farzi's (Mall of the Emirates) Chit Chaat menu, Farzi City Walk has launched their take on afternoon feasting with their brand-new high tea. Aiming to deliver the most diverse high tea in town — the chefs have whipped up a new menu. Start with savoury offerings such as Dahl Sev Puri - a sweet and tangy filled bread fried until golden; more gold in the form of fresh made spiced potato and pea samosa dipped in sweet mint chutney; Bombay Bhel, another Indian flatbread made with lentils topped with yoghurt and a tamarind-laced chutney; a spicy chicken kathi roll from the streets of Calcutta and classic cumin salted biscuits. On the sweet side, there’s plenty to be excited about too - after a few hearty sips of karak tea, of course. Sponge fans will love the warm carrot and walnut tea cake topped with caramel sauce. There’s traditional Kaju Katli homemade cashew nut sweet with silver leaf, also fluffy Rasmalai - flattened clotted cream balls topped with carrot cream and soaked in saffron milk plus the deep-fried glory of fresh Gulab Jamun Rabri and the undoubted decadence of a dark chocolate, nutella and peanut brownie still warm from the oven.

Farzi, City Walk, Dubai, UAE: The high tea menu is priced at Dh149/ tray, suitable for two, with a selection of ten sweet and savoury dishes & a pot of Karak Chai for two; available from 4-7pm daily.


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Apr 05, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Agreed.… tea-time is bonding time, unwinding time, reminiscing time …all rolled in one. Am up for this high tea!

Purva Grover
Purva Grover
Apr 06, 2023
Replying to

Oh yes, a lot can happen over tea!

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