When an invitation arrives from Jing Tea, I attend. I had recently discovered Jing Tea at Brown’s Hotel last November and have been a devotee ever since – truly living on their Verveine!
The aforementioned invite was not only beckoning me to sip my Jing tea, but also dine at Benares Restaurant. Michelin-starred Chef Atul Kochhar was collaborating with Jing to create a menu focusing on the healthy benefits of Indian cuisine. Each course would be paired with a Jing tea that would ride in tandem with the flavors and spices of each course.
As I entered the fabulous restaurant, I was passed a teacup of Jasmine Silver Needle Cold Infusion – a White Tea that has hints of Jasmine. Immediately I felt our course was set and, waiting behind the dining room door, was a ticket to Mumbai.
We were ushered into a private dining room and, before our meal began, Chef Kochhar came out to introduce himself, just as poppadums, hot from the oven, accompanied by homemade mango chutney and other delicious dips appeared and set the tone for the rest of the meal.
From my starter of Tandoori lemongrass-infused, corn-fed Poussin to my entrée of Pine Nut and Mint Stuffed Lamb Koftas in Fennel and Ginger Sauce – there was no way to be disappointed. The first course was perfectly paired with a Lemongrass & Ginger Hot Infusion tea and the lamb was accompanied by Nilgiri Frost, a black tea from Western Ghats hills of South India.
I am notoriously difficult with desserts. If it’s not ice cream, then why bother? Well, I have to be honest, I ordered the Carrot Cake primarily because it was served with Mandarin ice cream. I don’t even like carrot cake – but this was no usual carrot cake. I have never eaten something called carrot cake that tasted like this. It was fantastic. To make it even more exciting, it was paired with Jing Masala Chai, one of their teas that I drink every day because I love it so much.
I must say that it felt counter intuitive for the author of A Lush Life Manual to celebrate a non-alcoholic pairing with an Indian meal, but I left feeling much healthier than when I had arrived – a first for any meal.
Benares deserves its place on one of the grandest squares in London.
NB: I was the guest of Benares & I can’t thank them enough for inviting me to experience their JING Tea Menu. Everything I write is always my own opinion!
*The photo of the private dining room was provided by Benares.