Thursday, July 29, 2010

Have they taken Royal Admiration Tea-oo Far?

I had been planning to tell you about this place before I left for India. I visited this place a couple of days before I lugged my bags halfway across the world to India. So there we were - the Chinese Chatpati, Finnish Femme Fatale, the Mexican Mambo No.1 and the Indian Idiot - out like the Brits to try 'a spot of tea' with the Royalty.
Now, the average Brit might be not too posh or gushy about their royalty, but inside every Brit git there is a heart that beats for the Royalty. I mean, think about it, why else would they pay thousands of pounds every year to maintain the Queen and her brood? Would a couple of extra pounds less on their crippling taxes have not been preferable? Not really, if you are a Brit, it seems. The mandatory curtsy by men and women at the Wimbledon are the best reminders of that, for me...
We had been planning this for a while, let me tell you. It all began with a discussion across a crowded University pub about this 'awfully pretentious' place, where if you weren't dressed right and didn't know how to hold a teacup right, you could be refused to be served and thrown out!!! Chinese Chatpati knew someone who had been told to unpark herself from the hardly comfortable chair and leave..Kind of like Fit in or Ship out Mate!! 
Now Finn Fatale and Indian Idiot found this snortably funny. So we tested our repertoire of funny sounds and found that between us, we had a good collection. Mexican Mambo is the only guy in our class who is always willing for any spot of fun, even when it comes in the form of tea. The idea was to go there and irritate the crap out of the management if possible after sitting down for tea and see if we would be thrown out.

There we were, on a weekday, expecting to be the only people in Brighton with the idea of having tea at 2PM in the afternoon. From the outside and inside too, it looked as kitschy as Chinese Chatpati had said.

First glitch - No entry till 3PM, for there was a private bunny party on. We thought it would be in honour of the christening of someone's child, turns out it was a hen party. Women dressed for their girlfriend like bunnies..I thought it sounded kinky, and funnily that too in a tearoom!! We had little chance but to head elsewhere to spend some time till the tearoom could take in 'non-party' guests. At 3PM we were told, no entry till 3.30PM by a totally drunk bunny. A punch was folded back without being delivered, we decided to stick on, so much wait justified a teaful completion, didn't it?
At 3.30, we barged in, unmindful of the rude bunnies, ready to barbeque them alive if they even tried to move their whiskers. Sat down, right next to the windows. And that's when the kitschiness of the place hit us. Not a spot without some tacky or crazy Royal reminder of Britain's blue bloods.
This is when the second rude shock was delivered - the tearoom had changed management. We could snort and point our pinkies till our heart desired, there wasn't anyone to tick us off for our heathen behaviour, apparently. Deflated, we settled down to behave like ladies and have tea...ohhh..and the Mexican Mambo to be politically correct...
The Menu... Felt like we were invited for tea with the Royals themselves - Princess Anne tea and what not...What you think you will get is drastically different from what you get. The English tea service turned out in chipped cheap china teapots hidden behind gaudy tea cosies. Unmatched tea cups and plates must have been supposed to demonstrate quaint British charm. I'll refrain from commenting. 
The scones with clotted cream and marmalade is supposed to make up for all the shortcomings in British cuisine in other departments. Unfortunately, I was served scones baked about a week in advance of our visit, the tea was too weak to even be protested against. ( I refuse to believe that it is my inbred Masala Chai snobbery) 
 Poor Finn Fatale opted for sa'wiches over scones, only to find that it was made of pasty white store-bought bread lathered on tar thick with butter and sweet chutney. Chinese Chatpati quietly stoically sipped her tea, while I think Mexican Mambo was the most accepting of the situation. He had a simple question - what do you expect from a 12-pound service? The cheap Indian idiot said quite a lot more..Why in India in 12 pounds I could get you some fine tea and better service at the Tea Centre!!
 Then he laid down the killer line - but would you have had so much pictures to make up for the bad tea? True that...while we quietly paid up, we all said that to each other. Atleast we took a million pictures - Paisa vasool...We didn't get a chance to be thrown out or the satisfaction of having tea with the royalty. Hmmm..some cheap thrills are never meant to be.


  1. so you had what was a sorry excuse for tea ? you didn't get thrown out ? ..aaaww :-P

    take the CC, mexican and finn out for some decent masala tea ! I am sure they would love it :) that is more like royalt(ea)y !

    In Oz the queen is still the head of state. No one complaints as there is no extra tax burden to support the royals and we still get a public holiday on her birthday. So all is good down under :)

  2. I came running here to read all baout this Tea business. This is hilarious and i must say babe, i was a tad disappointed, that the management had changed. :D Chche! such rotten luck. Btw, did you bring back banana chips for your friends? How long before you finish and we see you again giving PTCs? :)

    tea is again a big deal here. Mishmash's morning breakfast at school is called ' morning tea'. Mish asked me why ma, they don't give us tea only fruit and muffin!! :D Oh, yes @DM, ain't we lucky, we get a holiday for her birthday, but did you know different states in oz celebrate the Queen's b'day on diff days! LOL. I thought that was hilarious :D

  3. I do not understand the Brit's fascination (or for that matter, anyone's) with royalty. What is it that the royal family does? I'd be pretty pissed off if I was Brit and my taxes went to people that are rich, have people do everything for them and just sit on their arses.

    I'm not big on couldn't tell you a weak one from a strong one. A coffee person here (in case you didn't figure that out given the blog name!) Liked the pictures...esp the comic re how to be brit! :D

  4. @DM: When KG referred to you as DM, I thought she was writing to me, those happen to be the initials of my name, Damn...:) but I did get my friends boxes of 'authentic' Indian tea packaged pretentiously by Fabindia..:)

    KG: What are the chances that like we have Indian calendar birthdays and the Gregorian calendar ones, the Aussies have their own version to honour the queen? ;P

    This is amazing, three Aus bloggers one after the other..:)

    PB: The place was so comical..filled with the kind of junk that our moms threaten to throw away..From empty tea tins to biscuit covers to even cardboard place mats..its like a junk sale paradise...

  5. @Deepthy DM, is this a flash light shining the way down those tunnels or a self diversionary tactic?
    @ Aussies... count yourself lucky! Us Brits don't get a national holiday on monarchs B'day but they don't just "sit on their arses" In practical they are responsible for a huge volume of tourism (see kitsch Kemptown tearoom visited by Deepthy) and a number of 'em have formal diplomatic roles e.g. Duke of York
    They have all now pay their taxes as any other British citizen
    More sentimentally, they represent; our core, many of our values and of course our heritage. Their leadership though sometimes flawed presents a stable compliment to the totally political. Think how the world reacted when Diana was killed, was that confined to UK? Or in WWII when the refusal of the royals to quit London during the blitz provided invaluable support and motivation to the general populous as UK stood alone against Germany and continental Europe under it's control. It is a great shame that they didn't intervene against Blair on Iraq but it was something that was seriously discussed at the time even though it would have promulgated a constitutional crisis...

  6. John: Totally self diversionary. Just can't get my head around to writing those damn words on paper. Its all cooked up right in my head. Just wouldn't translate into chapters. I was just testing to see if I can write anything at all or if it is about academic writing that is doing me in, concluded it is the latter...

    Btw, must say a very spirited defense of the monarchy which I do totally concur with. When I brought up the tax issue, I guess I was being totally a 'my-point-advocate' subtly sidestepping the counter argument that they too now pay taxes..Frankly, I was hoping that atleast a couple of my British friends who read my blog would respond..Thank you for obliging :)

  7. ...All for a cuppa, uh?! Turned out that it was the management that needed to get thrown out for the unmatched saucers, bad tea and tolerance of un-royal behaviour... hee, hee! Enjoyed reading the post:D

  8. The place looks warm and colourful but that tea!...did you drink that stuff?...what an insult to good old tea!

  9. must have been their way of throwing you out and ensuring you don't step in there again lol!

  10. I should add to above, as a Brit (not pure English) I am embarrassed by the dishwater that seems to have been served in place of proper tea! I can assure all those who haven't been to the UK, we can make tea, not perhaps as sickly sweet and gloopy as masala chai but certainly better than the insipid fluid portrayed above.

  11. Place looks really expected good food ? British food just sounds wonderful but ughhh not a fan of it...

  12. V: My mexican friend has been to a couple of tea parties that charge upto 30 quid, its selective and held at private homes. Apparently there the scones are fresh off the oven and well, tea -I wouldn't believe his judgement..;)

  13. Loved the way you have recounted the whole adventure. And am I glad you got your friends some good old Indian chai!

  14. ahh.. nothing beats indian ginger tea.!

    n i loveeeed the killer line "but would you have had so much pictures to make up for the bad tea?"
    its exactly the way i feel!