By Dimithri Wijesinghe
The t-Lounge by Dilmah on Chatham Street hosted “Contemporary Afternoon Tea” on Friday (19) featuring dishes inspired by Dilmah tea, and the flavours of nature as well as the experience were designed and presented by Sri Lanka’s first Michelin Star Chef Larry Jayasekara.
Chef Jayasekara conducted a guided tour of the various dishes he prepared, all equally delicious and immensely innovative.
The guests were served a series of savouries; the party started off with the surprising chilled tomato tea with Dilmah’s Rose with French Vanilla, which was absolutely refreshing. This was followed by a number of light yet rather complex dishes like beef bolognaise infused with Dilmah Ceylon supreme black tea, Negombo crab with Dilmah Lemon and Lime flavoured tea dressing, and an assortment of others.
The chef spoke about his reasoning behind the texture and flavours of each dish, providing: “Afternoon tea is not lunch and it’s not dinner – it’s in between. So you need something that fits the ‘in-between’ perfectly.”
Each dish was accompanied with a specific Dilmah tea meant to enhance the flavours and elevate the dining experience. It goes without saying that the teas alone were fantastic and distinctly different; the diversity and range offered in varieties of teas were astonishing to see.
Amongst the assortment of teas served, they also provided the first Ceylon Oolong, which is traditionally made in other Asian countries like China or Taiwan. But in Sri Lanka, this was the first time it was experimented with Lankan tea and it tasted like a real success with its very soft, gentle, and lovely light finish.
Then we moved on to the desserts, which were all unique, showcasing nothing that one would otherwise recognise at their everyday dessert place.
Many of the dishes featured Lankan tea quite heavily – one dish in particular featured a jam made of Dilmah Italian Almond and Cherry tea on a waffle.
None of the desserts were overly sweet; in fact, sweetness wasn’t too heavily featured in any of the desserts, except maybe the cardamom caramel macaroon, which is possibly the most delicious and structurally perfect macaroon you’ll ever have the pleasure of tasting.
Despite being all about tea, they did not miss out of having a chocolate dish amongst the desserts – the chocolate cremeux with honey comb and Dilmah Pear and Orange flavoured tea glee.
The lineup was brought to a close with a serving of a single bite of jackfruit filled with lime tea, natural seaweed, and a mix of mango, passion fruit, and pineapple, which smelled heavenly and tasted just as good. Although a little on the sour side, it was perfect to cleanse the palate.
Dilmah remains an inspiring presence in the Sri Lankan market and a pioneer in innovation. It always put their own spin on something that was otherwise ordinary – the special tea-inspired afternoon featuring all these dishes was testament to their drive to always bring something unique to the island.
Chatham St, Colombo 1