In case you’ve spent December in a mulled-wine haze and missed the incessant radio ads inviting you stop by Tata’s new tea bar in Indiranagar, we did you a solid. Lured by the promise of ‘breakfasts from around the country,’ we planned a breakfast-stretching-into-lunch kind of day at Tata Cha. For a chai bar designed by the venerable House of Tata, its aesthetic is surprisingly on-point – as affirmed by the entrepreneur-types sipping tea, staring intensely at spreadsheets on their MacBooks. Upbeat and chic in a safe teal and yellow, the wood tables and comfy couches make for easy all-day freelance lounging, but not so slouchy you can’t meet angel investors to discuss your next round of funding here.
The café is open at a sprightly 8 am, and we begin with some caffeine. Gur kadak chai is less kadak and more milky than we like, but Special Origin tea from the Nilgiris is a lovely full-bodied and aromatic red tea, and pairs perfectly with a bowl of multigrain upma. Seasoned with coriander and curry leaves, it checks all the right breakfast boxes: hearty, healthy, delicious. A plate of theplas is too thick to be authentic by any stretch of the Gujarati standard (you could say it’s not stheple), but the accompanying sweet and tangy tamarind chutney softens you up for seconds.
It’s A Bun-derful Life
Then, trauma. A word of advice: skip the hot chocolate no matter how wintry the weather, unless you’re plagued by childhood nostalgia for Bournvita. But while on the subject, an old-school treat entirely worth the fuss is bun maska, where a toasty tutti-frutti bun is slathered not just with a generous pat of butter, but enough sugar to make you feel like you’re back in primary school enjoying a cream bun at 11 am break. Elaichi cake will not disappoint cardamom lovers with its intense flavour, but does let us down sorely in the texture department – dry and crumbly, it breaks off like stiff cardboard.
But wait, there’s more good news. Tata Cha’s chicken patti samosa is, without doubt, one of the best samosas we’ve had in the city. Don’t be deterred by its oil-blot appearance — while it may look like it will drip grease all over the table, the casing is perfect, and a generous amount of delicious chicken kheema nestles sweetly inside. Chakri Samosa is also great in the flaky-pastry department, but has only the thinnest layer of under-seasoned potato.
This is a cardinal sin that can only be set right by ordering another chicken patti samosa. But you know, reader, we made those new year’s resolutions about hitting the gym harder for a reason. It may not be the crown jewel of the Tata empire, but Tata Cha is, in some ways, an anmol Ratan.
Getting there: 2985, 12th Main Road, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, Bangalore. A meal for two costs approximately Rs. 600 including drinks.
Accessibility: No stairs.
This review was contributed by Anisha Rachel Oommen, food journalist and co-founder of The Goya Journal.
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