In all my years of existence on this wretched planet, I've yet to have a positive experience at any of Dilmah's T-Lounges. I held my hopes up and when I visited their sophisticated Tea-Lounge (vast improvement, there) at Water's Edge, I pushed all my opinions aside and waltzed in only to be smacked in the face with a good shot of disappointment.
The lounge is on the 2nd floor, right above The Bakery. You walk up a flight of wooden stairs and the entrance is to your right.
It's blissfully dim inside with light filtering in through the large windows. A strangely comforting silence hangs in the air and it makes for an excellent environment to read a book and enjoy a cup of tea.
We were settling in quite cosily on one of their grey sofas and our tête-à-tête was soon interrupted by loud, jarring tones which we discovered were emanating from the telly.
VH1's Top 10 and tea, unfortunately, do not make an entertaining pair.
After meddling about with the menu tab (we were given a literal Samsung Tab that had the menu in it) we settled for a hot cup of Lively Lime and Orange Fusion tea (Rs. 400) and an iced Gentle Minty Green Tea (Rs. 550).
The iced green tea concoction was a literal, vibrant green with mint leaves soaking through. At first sip, you get a hint of tea (NOT green tea) and paired with the mint leaves this is an all-round refreshing drink. I'm guessing the name pertains to the colour and not actual green tea. This is a good drink to have in this heat.
However, neither the lime, nor the orange came through when I took a sip of the lime and orange fusion tea. The colour was beautiful and the drink was served out of a French press. But nothing. Zilch. I desperately sniffed and sipped but I couldn't sense a touch of citrus anywhere. The tea wasn't bad, it just wasn't what I was expecting. I really don't want to say they might have switched teas because they are a TEA LOUNGE and know better, but that is what it seemed like.
We opted for the Spicy Chicken Bockwurst Waffles (Rs. 650) and a portion of the Cheese Toast with Green Chillies (Rs. 450).
The cheese toast was more bruschetta than toast, and it was okay. There was a lot of mozzarella, a lot of chilli and Chandana swears he tasted egg but I didn't. The bread was crispy and warm. There was a small side of ketchup in case you felt like indulging.
Taste-wise it wasn't actually that bad. It was plenty spicy and left the both of us gasping for air after a few bites and there was a lot of sausage. There was a strangely sweet taste to the waffle which complimented the spice well.
The Carrot Cake (Rs. 300) was, as you can see in the picture above, absolutely raw on the inside and was so dense it took a few tries to successfully break off a piece with our spoons. The icing was basically three parts margarine to one part of cream cheese and it was rather unpleasant.
The server seemed a bit confused when we placed our orders and brought out our dessert first. We had to ask him to bring it at the end of our meal and he did but he'd apparently put the cake back in the fridge; cutlery, plate and all. He left the premises to take care of some business and the chef had to tend to our needs afterwards.
The chef was attentive at first, but slowly lost focus later and we had to wave about madly to get his attention. He seemed drawn to what was playing on the telly, so eventually we had to give up and walk up to the counter to ask for whatever else we needed.
The food took about an hour to arrive which is ridiculous especially since we could see the chef cluttering about behind the counter. Hopefully they get the staff issue fixed soon.
They need to do a better job with their presentation and service. A lot is expected from a leading brand and unfortunately these setbacks have occured way too many times. There's still more room for improvement though, and here's hoping they'll turn a new leaf very soon.