Baluchi pan-Indian afternoon tea at The LaLit London
By Fakhra Ashraf
I’ve been to plenty of afternoon teas before, but this was quite unique and different, with its great hall having a nice atmosphere.
Since this hall was formerly St. Olave’s Grammar School’s Assembly Hall and now a Grade II listed building, and since I’m a teacher myself, it was quite interesting to see the menu named after its teachers.
We went for the 3-tier Indian High Chair stand – a first time experience for all of us.
In the bottom stand, they had the traditional dokla. Made of chick peas, this was flavorsome, but small in size, and came out cold.
There were also four kati roles, two chicken tikka, and two vegetarian parathas – one paneer and the other pepper. I prefered the chicken option as it wasn’t too spicy. They were all large in size.
The chicken tikka, which was nice, with just the right amount of flavour, was well cooked and non-greasy. The chili sauce was the default accompaniment for all the items at the bottom.
The middle-tier had the bhail puri, which we were told to eat straight away before it went soggy.
It was good and went well with the imli (tamarind) sauce, but could have been crispier.
They also had vegetarian and chicken samosas with mint chutney, which were large in size, had a crispy exterior, and weren’t greasy.
The top-tier was reserved for the sweet items, which included gajar halwa, barfi, hubshi halwa and mango lassi.
Having never had mango lassi before, this was more like a smoothie than a lassi, with fresh mango used, andwas really nice. Unfortunately they served this after all the food had come out.
The best was the gajar halwa though, which was creamy in texture and enjoyed by everyone.
There was also pistachio biscuits, which were soft and crumbly, and went really well with the teas.
While all the items on the top-tier were refillable, we didn’t opt for this since there was plenty in the end.
There is quite a large variety of teas and mocktails available too.
Although we didn’t try the mocktails this time round, we did get the mint tea, which was really soothing. I don’t particularly like teas, but my family do, and they got the masala chai that came in a cute little pot which reminded them of back home. They all enjoyed their varieties.
I got the hot chocolate, which came out rather bland and watery, and needed four cubes of sugar to make it sweet! I requested another one with more chocolate in it, which came out far better than the first. I can say that hot chocolate is not their specialty, which was obvious considering that masala chai and pan-Asian teas are on the menu. All teas were refillable.
In summary, other than being a little slow, the service was very good. The venue itself had great decor and a place you will want to bring your parents or loved ones to.
In comparison to other afternoon teas I’ve had, this was a bit pricey, with everything averaging out to around £55 a person.
But with what seemed like authentic biryanis coming out in steel pots, I would go back again to try the main restaurant.
Getting to the venue is a little tricky as the bus route isn’t particularly great; so we took the tube and then Uber to get there.
Baluchi @ The Lalit
181 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2JR.
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 12:00-22:15