Bollywood Dreams and a squashed croissant

There is a rather wonderful tearoom in Edinburgh called Eteaket.


I had been wanting to visit this place for ages and I finally got round to it a couple of weeks ago when I popped down to the city.

A chum and I were lunching there, and although I was looking forward to my grub I found it hard to give my attention to the food menu because the tea menu stole the show.



When the waitress came to take our order I think she mistook my delight for confusion when I told her that I was spoilt for choice and not sure which tea to go for.

She was keen to help and asked me what sort of tea I liked so that she could offer some suggestions, but my answer (‘I like all these teas’) probably didn’t assist her much. In any case, I had already whittled down my options to a handful and was simply trying to choose between these.

Under a little pressure from the helpful waitress (who was in fact providing a very useful service) I jumped to the quick conclusion that it was their Bollywood Dreams Chai I was after.

It was delivered to the table in a yellow teapot, while my chum’s choice of Awesome Assam came in a red one:


The little egg timer that came with the teas told us when a 3 minute steeping time was up. Being desirous of a strong cup, I left it a little longer and shoogled my tealeaves about a bit before pouring.


I’ve tried quite a few versions of what they call chai tea in the UK, i.e. a black tea with various spices such as cardamom, black pepper, cloves and ginger added to it, but I don’t think I’ve ever had such a full bodied and complex-flavoured one as Eteaket’s Bollywood Dreams.

Chai tea, as I first came to know it in Pakistan, was a thick, creamy and usually very sweet concotion. The whole caboodle was boiled up together: black tea, buffalo milk, sugar and all the spices that went into it. It was like the Guinness of teas, a veritable meal in itself.

I took the Bollywood Dreams chai black with no sugar to start off with, to see how I liked it. I liked it so much that way that I didn’t even try adding milk or sugar, and drank the whole pot black and invigorating.

To munch alongside my tea, I chose a cheese and tomato croissant.

I had in my mind a fluffy French pastry, puffed up with air, crisp on the outside and stretchy and delicious inside, with a nice bit of cheese and some tomato resting gently inside.

Much to my amusement, what arrived looked as if it had slipped onto the kitchen floor and been trodden on by a large boot:


This was infintely more exciting than what I had been anticipating. I’m extremely partial to a toastie, and a toasted croissant, no matter how flat, was an unexpected highlight.


I wish I had a photograph of the flattest toastie I’ve ever had, which was a sheer joy I experienced once at Dawyck Botanic Gardens. It made this croissant look like a balloon by comparison.

On tasting, I discovered that my squashed croissant was utterly delicious, and the salady items it was served up with were tip-top. I was particularly pleased with the couscous which came as plain little grains in a mound with nothing else in it.

My companion had a cheese and ham sandwich, which came untoasted but with the same sorts of salady accoutrements:


Having devoured a chocolate and almond scone before lunch and then filled up nicely with the flat croissant, I didn’t indulge in a sweet treat at Eteaket. My comrade did, however, succumb to a cream scone, which I wished I had room for. The cream and jam came in little jars packed to the gunwales:


The Devonshire method was employed: cream first, with jam on top:


Somehow or other I managed not to even taste this scone. Despite being offered a bite more than once, I persisted in declining the kind offer. I was told it was exceptionally good and looking at the photographs now I find myself questioning my decision. However, being of the general opinion that hanging onto regrets serves little purpose, I have been endeavouring to accept it and move on.

One thing I like to see in bathrooms is a spare loo roll or two, and I was delighted to note that the Ladies’ facility at Eteaket was very well equipped:


My chum wanted to pop into the Lyon & Turnbull auction rooms to have a look at a paperweight he was thinking of buying, and so we trotted down there after lunch, passing some of Edinburgh’s beautiful Georgian architecture on the way.


One of the items on display in the auction house was an enormous stuffed white dog in a glass case, and there were several media people there with a real live dog, trying to get the real dog to look at the stuffed one.

Try as they might, tempting the dog with treats, things suspended above the glass case, etc. the little dog seemed interested in looking everywhere but at the stuffed dog.

By sheer chance, I happened to lift my camera and snap a picture at the exact moment the small dog complied with their wishes. My picture was zoomed in from the other side of the room so it’s a bit fuzzy and not the best of compositions, but this appeared to be the only occasion on which the wee one looked at the big one. I trust the photographers were pressing their buttons at the vital moment.



30 thoughts on “Bollywood Dreams and a squashed croissant

  1. Eteaket sounds like a wonderful tearoom with excellent choices. I am like you when it comes to a huge selection, all looking good. It takes me forever to decide but I’m always happy with my choice. It does sometimes drive my hubby mad. I love a nice cup of chai. (Loved the name they gave it!) I don’t usually put anything in it either. The croissant looks very yummy. Must remember this place should I get to Edinburgh. Thanks!

    • I agree, Darlene, it’s nice to have all that choice in a tearoom and it’s still relatively unusual here although I’ve noticed things improving greatly in the past couple of years. Eteaket’s been a great success story since it opened five years ago and I’ve seen their brand of tea in other cafes, too. If you are ever in Edinburgh a trip to Eteaket would be a nice thing to do. It’s pretty central, so I expect it does well out of tourists as well as locals.

  2. Thanks for the review! This place sounds great and I loved your perfect description of your flattened croissant. 🙂 We leave for Scotland in 2.5 weeks and I can’t wait to visit as many tearooms as possible!

    • How exciting! I really hope you find some lovely tearooms while you’re here. If I can give you any tips I’d be glad to. Eteaket would be a good choice if you’re in Edinburgh, although there are lots of others in the city that have much to recommend them, too.

  3. What a lovely looking place, and so many teas! You could go there every day for a month and have a new one every day. I love the sound of the teas that I can read from the menu – the Cranberry Rose and the Blooming Marvellous. I am not always convinced when I see savoury croissants but yours does look amazing – although its aspirations have certainly been squashed. And the scones look wonderful! Sounds like a very interesting trip to the auction house, and you did well to get the one shot that all the photographers were hoping for! A great pic, too. I would imagine the poor little dog was totally freaked out, if he realised what it was!

    • You could, indeed! The menu had over 40 different teas, as well as coffees and hot chocolates. It’s not often you see quite such a wonderful choice, and I would like to go back and try some of the other options. That croissant was a delight, although I also like a plain croissant with nothing on it at all, or indeed an almond one stuffed with sweet paste and sprinkled with slivered almonds. Mmmmm…the croissant is a great invention. I felt sorry for that little dog, it was being constantly harassed and cajoled, but at least it did get quite a few treats for its trouble.

    • I hope one day you can visit it, but I imagine you’re not short of decent tearooms in your neck of the woods. You’re in Cambridge, aren’t you? If anyone can do tearooms as well as the Scots it’s the English (shhhh, don’t tell anyone I said that).

  4. Interesting post as always Lorna. As this establishment is barely two miles from where I live I looked up their website. Now call me old-fashioned but £2.75 for a scone does seem a bit steep, even if you do get a well-filled pot of jam with it. I’ve been making scones this week, and I’ll be covering the experience in my blog but all I can say is that these guys are putting a pretty hefty mark-up on their scones.

    • Thanks David, I’m looking forward to your blog post about scones. I must agree with you, Eteaket’s scone price is on the steep side. My friend noticed that if he ordered a cream tea for £4.75 it would be considerably cheaper than buying tea, a scone and clotted cream separately (it would have come to £6.30 that way), so he asked if he could still order the Assam but have it as part of a cream tea, and apparently that was fine. Scones are relatively cheap and quick to make, as you know, and the price of Eteaket’s standard scone without cream is what I would expect to pay for a cream scone anywhere else. I suppose they do have the expensive Frederick Street rates to take into account, but even so £2.75 does seem a bit overpriced. I’ll need to go back and taste one and see if I think it’s worth the dosh, but my chum seemed to think so.

  5. Lovely post as always Lorna. I happen to have a heady jumble of chai tea leaves com a Parisian tea house on my counter. It’s my ‘special’ sit down and enjoy in a full tea pot, kinda tea. Definitely exactly as you describe it. Have you ever heard of Bellocq teas in Brooklyn NY, stunning website and beautifully featured reicpes from time to time by photographers. I have one jar left which I bought home from (Hong Kong,) one of the nicest buys ever!

    Beautiful picture of the Georgian homes and the auction house’s furry friends. A little macabre, lets just hope the little furry pal wasn’t looking to the big furry pal and wondering why he was stuck there! 😉

  6. Thanks, Alice, I like the sound of a ‘heady jumble of chai tea leaves’. I hadn’t heard of Bellocq teas but I’ve had a look at their website now and it looks wonderful. I see they have a London shop, too. I’ve seen those sorts of silver tea caddies elsewhere and they’re a great idea because they have two lids, don’t they? An outer one and an inner one to keep the tea fresh. I think I would enjoy a visit to Bellocq.

    I hope the small dog wasn’t traumatised by the big one in the glass case, but as far as I could see it wasn’t really that interested. Perhaps it just didn’t want to look.

  7. Nice shooting, Lorna! But I think I’m still more impressed with the pics of the tea and the vittles on your plate. I wouldn’t mind spending a whole day at Eteaket (which I imagine is pronounced a little like: A TEAKETtle ;-))

  8. This post has everything – suspense (what tea to choose), delicious food, wistfulness at not having a bite of the scone, and then the cute picture of the doggie at the end. Perfect!

  9. So enjoyed this tearoom through your eyes and interesting writing. Your description of your chai makes me want a cup…I too have found good chais to be excellent without milk or sugar. Don’t know how you passed up that cream scone…that’s how a scone service should look and one we don’t see much of in the U.S. …lots of clotted cream. Edinburgh is the one place I’ve been in Scotland (12 years ago) and so loved the city. We were there to go to the Tatoo as my husband loves bagpipes and his Mom’s side of the family is from England. Good job getting the photo of the live doggy staring at the stuffed one…

    • Thank you, Linda. I still wonder how I didn’t even take a bite of that scone, sometimes I surprise myself. I’m so glad you’ve been to the Tattoo, it’s great isn’t it? I had a summer job there once, manning the phones, and got a free trip to one of the shows. It gets sold out well in advance now, it’s become very popular. That doggy shot was a pure fluke!

  10. I’m overdue a visit to Edinburgh. I should get there soon before this lovely weather changes, but I don’t think I can make it. A flat croissant sounds very much me, and that scone nears perfection. 🙂

    • It’ll still be there next year, or whenever you can make it north, and of course Eteaket does plenty of coffees as well as teas. 🙂 I’m trying not to kick myself about that scone.

  11. I love your description of the croissant: “looked as if it had slipped onto the kitchen floor and been trodden on by a large boot”. I had a giggle at that.
    Gorgeous photo of the two dogs.

    • That was my immediate thought when it was dished up in front of me, I don’t know why, perhaps it was the shape of the croissant that put me in mind of the sole of a boot. Jolly nice all the same though. That wee dog was very sweet.

  12. another wonderful post on the art of having a delicious bite to eat in one of Edinburgh’s finest spots. I believe it was on the list of places that were recommended in the article I found and I will be looking for it the next time I’m in Edinburgh. The croissant was of a different shape than I am used to but I have to agree that it looks quite appetizing and that pot of cream! I wanted to run right over and order myself some of that. My favorite part of your post was the “shoogling of the tea”; a practice that sounds very sensible if one is needing the tea a little on the stronger side.

    • Thanks, Alison. I think Eteaket has already established itself as one of Edinburgh’s top places to take tea, and no wonder with that tea menu. I’m a firm believer in the shoogling of tea, it just doesn’t seem right to me to pour the boiling water on and then just leave it. A wee shoogle and a stir and then let it sit, that’s what works for me. That cream does look rather good, doesn’t it? Slathered all over the scone with plenty of jam. Mmmmmmm.

  13. What a wonderful little tea room! To be honest, I’ve only been to a few tea rooms in my life, but I’ve really enjoyed the ones I’ve been to. There’s a funky tea room near the beach close to where I live in San Clemente that I want to go to, but my husband refuses to go with me (he’s into coffee, not tea!). I’ll get there one day soon, however. Great post! Celeste 🙂

    • Thank you! Your local tearoom sounds well worth a visit. Tell your husband they’ll do nice coffees too (they do, don’t they? I can’t think of any tearooms I’ve been to that don’t offer coffee and other drinks as well). I hope you manage to pay a visit and enjoy a nice cup of tea in the funky surroundings. A beach tearoom sounds to me like an excellent idea.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s