Tea Lounge (Grand Hotel, Nuwara Eliya).

A medley of colonial charm, bygone history and luxurious architecture, Grand Hotel is an iconic landmark in Nuwara Eliya that one should not miss visiting.  We happen to come across it during our review of Tea Lounge, the latest branch of Dilmah's t-Lounge chain. 

Food & Drinks

Tea Lounge does a range of pizzas, sandwiches, crepes and a few other snacks, and of course, tea and tea-based drinks – a whole lot of it. 

We were in for a heavy lunch, as the cold weather in Nuwara Eliya makes you hungrier than usual and therefore ended up ordering a Middle East Pizza (Rs. 1200) and a Pink Lady Sandwich (Rs. 1200).

Essentially a concoction of lamb, white kidney beans, marinara sauce and mozzarella, the Middle East Pizza was a good one. They hadn't skimped on the lamb, so every bite was a meaty treat. Perfectly crispy and not at all doughy, the crust here was well-executed too.

Coupled with the stringy mozzarella and the tangy notes of the sauce that enrich its flavour, it's a good purchase if you find yourself at the Tea Lounge. However, in some instances, these flavours were a bit subdued by the lamb. My lunch partners didn't seem to enjoy that. 
Constructed with three types of bread, chicken, cheese and veggies, the Pink Lady arrived with the sides of potato wedges and tomato ketchup. 

We liked the presentation of this one. Firstly, you see the black bread on top, followed by a layer of chicken which had a slightly smoky taste to it. And then lies the brown bead, with a slice of cheese underneath. That and the pile of veggies are tucked in between the brown and white bread slices. All three types of bread were fluffy, fresh and airy. 

The layer of veggies was comprised of tomato, cucumber, lettuce and onions, which were absolutely fresh and crunchy. Unfortunately, it seemed to overpower the flavours of the other elements at play. A little less veggies and more chicken should easily fix this matter. 

We absolutely enjoyed the wedges though. Chunky and soft, yet with a crispy, well-seasoned coating to its outside, they were a delight. 
Light Golden in colour, this cup of Jade Butterfly Tea (Rs. 500) had a strong, yet soothing character. Best paired with something sweet. 

We weren't quite pleased about the Kandy Vodka (Rs. 1600). The signature tea kahata kicks were there, but the vodka flavour was almost non-existent. 

Ambience & Service

Adorned with the graceful colonial structure of the Grand Hotel, the ambience at the Tea Lounge is quite beautiful. On one side, it opens to the front yard of the hotel, and extends to an outdoor dining space as well. 

The service here was, in fact, better than what we experienced during our visits to their Colombo branch. The staff was prompt, polite and helpful. Our bill took a while to arrive, but given that it was an almost full-house situation, we didn't really mind it. 

Conclusion

It's a solid choice to have a cuppa whenever you're in Nuwara Eliya, and their food isn't half bad either. With a couple of tweaks here and there, they can easily improve, and we are looking forward to it. 

*Photographs courtesy of: @raveen.re
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