The t-Lounge by Dilmah on Chatham Street hosted their ‘Contemporary Afternoon Tea’ on the 19th of July 2019 featuring a variety of tea inspired savoury and sweet dishes created and curated by Sri Lanka’s first Michelin Star Chef Larry Jayasekara.
Chef Larry Jayasekara began his culinary journey working in a hopper stall down south here in Sri Lanka. Today he is a Chef that has a Michelin star to his name – Sri Lanka’s first ever to have such an accolade, and is making big waves internationally. Having worked in a number of top – tier restaurants in the UK, Chef Larry plans to open his own in 2020.
Chef Larry’s take on afternoon tea is to take the most contrasting flavours and ingredients to create the most complimentary dishes. “I wanted to recreate the way we look at Afternoon tea. Afternoon tea isn’t dinner or lunch, it’s something in between so I wanted to create something that fits that in-between. Some of the dishes either have a complimenting Dilmah tea served with it or the tea is actually infused into the dish itself.”
Chilled Tomato tea with Dilmah’s Rose with French Vanilla extract was served first as a palate refresher followed by a variety of savouries such as the Tart of Tuna Tartar with Dilmah pure camomile flowers, Beef Bolognaise infused with Dilmah Ceylon supreme black tea, Negombo Crabs with a Dilmah lemon and lime dressing, Chicken Scotch Eggs with a Dilmah Red Rooibos infused mayonnaise and slow cooked Lamb Taco with a Ceylon golden pekoe with saffron tea dressing.
Though each savoury dish was small and light, the flavours were anything but. The Beef Bolognaise was served with a fluffy aerated truffle potato cream and topped off with crispy potato skin and the Negombo fresh crabs mixed in well with the flavours of the complimenting Dilmah Lemon and Lime tea jelly. Our favourites of the savoury was the Scotch Egg with the perfect runny quail egg in the middle and the braised Lamb Taco that was served with a saffron tea dressing.
Dessert was a heavenly affair. Switching from savoury to desserts, we cleansed our palates with Lemon Curd and Dilmah Peach and Lychee tea granite. Desserts took a creative turn as it experimented on the role tea could play with sweeter elements and included dishes such as Waffles infused with Dilmah Italian Almond tea, Chocolate Cremaux served with Dilmah Pear and Orange flavoured tea and our personal favourite, a Cardamon Caramel Macaroon that we could not get enough of.
What we loved about the afternoon tea was the strong presence of Dilmah tea that remained consistently throughout our experience. We either drank a flavoured tea that complimented the dish we were having or we tasted our tea in the food that we ate.
Dilmah was also proud to present Sri Lanka’s first ever Ceylon Oolong tea which is traditionally found in Asian countries such as Taiwan and China. It’s a semi-oxidised tea that’s produced by withering the plant under strong sun and oxidation before curling and twisting. Having experimented with the tea in one of Dilmah’s estates for the first time ever, the Ceylon Oolong was soft and gentle in terms of its flavour and produced a lovely light finish.
The afternoon tea was concluded with the serving of a single Jakfruit Pod that had been dehydrated and frozen after it has been filled in with fresh lime juice, lime tea and natural seaweed. The result is absolutely bewildering as what you taste when you bite into the jakfruit are all the flavours of mango, passionfruit and pineapple that left us a with a strong citrus taste in our palate.
Dilmah’s Contemporary Afternoon Tea left us wanting more. Chef Larry’s innovative dishes truly redesigned the way Afternoon tea could be approached. Dilmah, the world’s first producer owned tea brand and a pioneer in innovation in Sri Lanka, certainly knows how to show what Afternoon Tea should be!