The divine addiction.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
This city of sweet milky chai has a place that makes this humble drink without the traditional ingredients, and it is still deliciously addictive. The Delhi Walla is talking of the Honey Ginger Lemon Tea at the Appetite German Bakery, which, owing to its location in the hotel district of Paharganj, teems with fascinatingly-clothed foreign backpackers.
The drink is served in a plain glass, with a Tetley bag on the side plate. Initially, the liquid looks cloudy as if someone has dropped an aspirin into hot water – but that’s just freshly-squeezed lemon juice. Meanwhile, the pale-brown slivers of ginger are kept off from the bottom of the glass by a film of honey.
Gradually, the drink gains a pink tint as the ginger’s tangy essence diffuses into the water. The tea bag plunges the color into a shade of dark brown. On stirring, the golden honey adds another layer to the color scheme.
You can of course easily make this concoction at home. But the one at the Appetite is incomparable — may be that has something to do with their honey. The nearby Brown Bread Bakery in Ajay Guest House, for instance, is more sophisticated (and pricier) than the Appetite but its version of the aforementioned tea is merely so-so.
Indeed, the Appetite’s chai is probably the best in India, though a well-travelled friend says that that honor belongs to Nick’s Italian Kitchen in the hill town of McLeod Ganj. The discerning friend, however, loves the one at the Appetite too. Once, after downing three glasses in the course of an afternoon there, she sleepily leaned back on her chair, closed her eyes, and confessed to me, saying, “Your friendship is a happy comfort… like this Honey Ginger Lemon Tea.”
Where Appetite German Bakery, Main Bazaar, Paharganj Time 8 am to 11 pm Nearest Metro Station Ramakrishna Ashram Marg
One more glass please