Sunday, October 11, 2009

A cuppa at The Tea Centre

When I go to town (South Mumbai), there are two “must visit” places – Sydenham College Canteen and Tea Centre...sydenham canteen, a detailed post will follow soon on my or our space, but today it is the time for Tea Centre...a nice and cosy (not for the couples) restaurant located on the ground floor of Resham Bhavan, Churchgate, one minute walking distance from churchgate station...if you are looking for some quiet moments and peace, then this is the place to be at (well, they ain’t paying me anything for advertising them through this post, but I love that place so much that I couldn’t stop myself from writing a post on it)...

(a small part of the poster on the wall)

Tea Centre has been there since the year 1956, but it was not so very popular then and until few years was run by the Tea Board - a government enterprise, and that time they sold tea powder to the wholesalers...few years later, the well known ad man Prahlad Kakkar was approached to groom this place...and the Tea Centre became a vibrant and peaceful joint for tea lovers...

(the full size poster)

The concept of the restaurant is very refreshing, with chattai curtains on the window, a small bell on each table, and above all, a wide range of more than 50 hot and ice teas on the menu is a blessing for all the chai lovers...

I have seen two different looks of Tea Centre - one designed by Prahlad Kakkar, (PK) and the second one by someone appointed by the new management that took over this place couple of years back...(well I couldn't get this information, as the waiter whom we asked post the renovation was new there)...the one designed by PK had light green walls, lots of paintings on exhibition, fewer tables and the bell..all these things combined gave the place a chilled out look...the new one has light brown walls, pictures with witty one liners have replaced the paintings, more tables and chairs, and the bell still remains there...they serve you tea in kullads if you request them for the same...

I used to study there during exams, with a cuppa in hand, peaceful and quiet environment and since very few people knew about it, we were never shooed away...and if my bad luck was haunting me resulting into exams falling post month mid, then college library was the only option...reason? of course, when you are getting tea for rupees 4 in college canteen, why will you spend 40 during the month end at tea centre right? ah, those good old pocket-money days...

Time has changed, so have the teas there...few old ones are out for which we always craved specially at the time of cash crunch...but now I have enough money to have that the whole month, but that Yogic Assam Chai is off the is the wine tea...but the place still has the same warmth, food has the same taste, waiters are still as friendly as they were, and the bell is still there...

If you happen to visit that place during lunch time, then Chatpati Bhindi is a must order...even if u hate bhindi, you will love this dish there...

There is a Tea Store too inside the Tea Centre, where you will find all possible types of teas you can think of from green tea to dried tea leaves, ayurvedic tea to flavoured tea, everything...they even sell kullads there...all in all, don't miss this place if you are at town and love tea...

(The tea store sneak peek)


  1. Interesting will visit this place definitely whenever i visit Mumbai!!
    Tell me honestly how much were u paid for this by them.....hahahah!!! (joking)
    U seem to really have a deep connection with this place...your love for this place is reflected in your post!!
    Looks a beautiful Tea Centre...liked thise pics!!

    never knew your a millionaire Neha...:)!!

  2. interesting,
    thanks for mentioning the names of dishes.
    and photos also.

  3. Very interesting post. Never been to Mumbai so far. Planning to visit the next time. Will make this a "must" visit. Can you please clarify this. If it is nice and cozy, how come it is not for couples

  4. Wow! This looks amazing. These are the kind of places I love more than Cafe Coffee Day or Barista. One cup of tea, and friends around you makes you feel like heaven. While I was reading this post, I was relating to it. It is a daily routine for me and my friends in the evening, and I love it. These are also the kinds of places where you plan things with your friends. :))
    Hope to visit this place when I visit Bombay. :)
    Well, I'm sure you must've had a lot of fun back in your pocket-money days with your college buddies. :)
    Pics are very nice and the article is nicer. :)

  5. I have heard about this Tea center and I so wish I'm in Mumbai soon to visit this place... But the way you have updated about it makes me feel so eager to just go there NOW :)

  6. You know I used to visit this place almost 30 years ago, when old waiters walked around scraping their feet, and heavy lidded eyes. The place, quite unusual for those days, even had a decent loo. Havent been there in ages, although very much in Mumbai. But your post kind of made me want to revisit ....Thank you for posting this !

  7. I am a good Tea-maker And always love to drink own hand-made Tea.

  8. hii

    nice post!

    i have never been to Mumbai, but will visit sydenham tea centre for sure if i happen to go

  9. Oh the tea centre was born in the same year as I:)..good info for a teas addict like me...I love the chai in Hyderabad..its so reasonable and good,generally i never take tea outside as I never like it..

  10. Woooo..Thanks Neha for this insight. No one would probably give sneak peeks at such legacies in a city. These are the places to be visited to know a city. I was born in Mumbai(I am very particular here to mention it as Mumbai, even though when I was born, it was very much Bombay :-P) but haven't visited the city since.

    Would love to be there

  11. Not a great tea-person...but love iced-tea and bhindi, nevertheless...
    will be there next time I'm at Churchgate station...

  12. The crisp bhindi with gravy poured on top was pretty good.. and so were the chilly cheese fingers!! But loved the bell most of all... so archaic.. and fun!!! Haven't been there in ages. Thanks for arousing the Nostalgia (oops was going to say Nausea)

  13. Tea centre used to be my favourite when I visited that area.I was living at Juhu,so missed no opportunity to visit tea centre ,once in South.

  14. Neha,,,was a nice post..u took us to d tea center itself..sure I wil try Chatpati Bhindi and u r tea if I get a chance to visit u r place!!:)!

  15. @ Nazish, I am not a millionaire, it's just that now I don't have anything to spend on, so my pocket money is untouched every month... same or more money also cannot buy me my favourite cuppa everyday due to the so called busy visit this place when you are in will love it...

    @ sm, I forgot to mention many dishes...shrikant mentioned a couple of them in his comment, then there is chilly garlic french fries, ginger tea, hot butter apple tea, open face sandwich...if you are a non-vegetarian, then anything in fish is a must there..

  16. @ SG, I didn't mean to say it is banned for them, but there are quite a few colleges around this area...and our Indian culture still does not like couples snogging around in public see that happening almost at all the restaurants and fast food joints in that area, except for this place...and yeah, please do visit it and read the one-liners on the pictures there...I have a few, but I am there innit too...though I will try and click them again without me and post...:)

    @ Karthik, thank you for the wonderful comment...I am so glad you liked what i expressed about this place...and yeah, with friends it's fun there...all planning n plotting happen over tea...

  17. @ Nu, welcome here...thank you for your comments...well the place is much better than the pictures and description...please come to Mumbai and visit soon...:)

    @ Ugich Konitari, welcome here...first of all, I love your poems...I always read them on Kavi's posts...thank you very much for dropping are the first person I am meeting who has visited this place in those early days...please do visit it now...:)

  18. @ Hobo, that's nice...

    @ AS, welcome here...thank you for your comments...tea centre is a must visit so as sydenham college...

  19. @ Antarman, try it out at tea will like it...

    @ Insignia, you are so right...these places are to be at if you wanna know the city...I will recommend few more if you wanna visit Mumbai...and about Mumbai and Bombay, well it was originally Mumbai...the word arrived from Mumba + aai (mumba devi, kuldevi of mumbai city)...but Portuguese people started calling this city Bombay - Bom + bay(good bay)...mumbai is waiting for the person who was born here...

    PS: SG, please confirm whether my info is correct or not...I am pathetic at history :)

  20. Pins and Ashes, welcome here...thank you for ur comments...sure visit the place...u get amazing ice teas too..:)

    @ Shrikant, next time, we will meet there ok...I am missing that place already :(

  21. @ BK Chowla, it is such a beautiful place that once you visit it, you will surely like it...

    @ benny, do have bhindi there, and tea rocks..

  22. Thanks for letting us in on this aromatic info. Ah! it is almost teatime. Let me dream of our cubby hole cafetaria as the one described.Splendid post. Will check out someday.

  23. Neha,

    You are absolutely correct about Mumbai's name change history :-) (I am an history buff too). Still SG can confirm :-)

    Well, I was sarcastic and was referring to recent MNS's tussle about the city being wrongly mentioned in Wake up Sid

  24. hmm the place seems interesting n the pics r really nice..will make it a point to visist this place when ever i come der...

    nice blog template yaar.!:)

  25. good time i visit v ll meet there 4 t..hey..i am so used to the railway canteen tea open 24 hrs at VT yar..opp times of india...hehehe...

  26. @ Holy Lama, do go is indeed a splendid place...

    @ Insignia, your confirmation is perfect with I knw 2 history junkies...:) u won't believe, 2-3 days back my business partner and I had an argument about this mumbai and bombay, n I gave her the same raag, but it was right...:))

  27. @ angel in disguise, welcome here...thank u for ur comments...m glad you liked the pics an the template...:)

    @ R. Ramesh, oh sure buddy, will surely meet at the tea centre when u r in India next...vt canteen I used to visit during my hostel bout a post on that from u?

  28. Hey...
    Lovely description !! liked the way you put through your experiences at the tea stall. Chai ki dukaan and doston ke saath masti.. well college days and the fun was always linked to an adda like this one... aint it??
    Its such a surprise to read that PK had designed the look of the stall ... further surprising is the fact that the Govt is running it since such a long time and that too in such good standards!.. well well well..some gud thing atleast!!

    well written and waiting for ur post on ur college!!


  29. Chapati Bhindi ! Ok. i will head there sometime soon. And will let you know ! thanks for sharing !!

    Such places are tucked away and sometimes it beats me as to how many places like this that are there..! :)

  30. Great pics! Looks like an amazing place to a tea-lover inside me-looks like heaven;-) You truly love this place. There are only few places in the world we have so deep connection, we can relive our old days:)
    Chatpati bhindi sounds yummy too;-)

  31. @ Rammy, such addas are part of our lives at all the stages...PK designed it, and he designed it beautifully...and my college post will b on my other blog...and soon :))

    @ Kavi, have chatpati bhindi, pakoda platter, chilly garlig french fries, a fish dish...thr r many more amazing dishes, but for one visit, this should suffice...and talking of such places, have you been to prithvi theatre cafeteria? that is another "must visit" place :)

    @ varsha, the bhindi is heavenly there...if u happen to come to mumbai, please visit it...a tea lover like you will love it for sure...a paradise..:)

  32. phew Neha...just read Bindu's blog on Madras kaapi some time back and now yur tea post!! cud smell the aroma now!! hav never been to Mumbai, but yur blog can easily ask me to visit this place if i ever come over!!...nice ambience can make wonders indeed!

  33. hi... wil try to visit this place if i ever go there.... cuz me too a chai lover!!

  34. @ HaRy, phew, that is some complement indeed...Mumbai is a must visit place...there are many such place that make it so...jus keep watching this space for many more..:)

    @ Tanmaya, welcome here...a chai lover? then go there asap :)

  35. Have never been to Mumbai but I guess I should visit this place whenever I happen to go to Mumbai.. And does "Kullad" mean clay pots? This reminds me of the coffee place near my department where I would spend hours together reading books :)

  36. Nice pictures!! I will go with you at this tea stall!! The poster looks good!!

  37. @ evenescentthoughts, yeah, kullad means clay pots...but this word makes them sound artificial according to i used this term instead...and I ve spent hours reading a book too visit it..

    @ Swatantra, that's an idea...we will meet up there...see ya soon :)

  38. Wish I should goto mumbai for drinking tea! Awesome post asusual!

  39. writin a lot abt tea huh? cool.. by the way, nice template :)

  40. I'm planning to visit Mumbai this Jan. And guess what, I just found my guide ;)
    Both this post and many others were awesome :)


  41. Usha, welcome here...thank u for reading this and many other posts...n yeah, contact me anytime :)

  42. Hi
    U have shared wonderful information.

    I'm a tea enthusiast will make a trip just to taste the verity as u suggested.

    If its calm and quite place then will even be the best to spend some peaceful time with family and friends

    Best Regards
    Jafer Patel -Oman

  43. Hey Guys! Just wanted to say hello to the new community :). Thanks for letting me in! :D