We went to Tea Villa Cafe for lunch today with a lot of expectations & left disappointed. Summarising our experience:
Cream of Almond & Brocolli Soup: Great start to the lunch - mildly flavored with crunchy almonds & creamy flavor profile
Cream of Tomato Soup: The usual
Pav Bhaji Fondue: Enough has been spoken about the dish in Zomato & Google Reviews. One of their best-selling dishes & for a good reason. We loved the subtly flavored Bhaji - not spicy, not bland, and not too cheesy.
Schezwan Hargao: Crystal dim sums with Schezwan Sauce - delicious & subtly flavored
Exotic Italian Pizza: Good thin-crust pizza, not disappointing, no wow factors either
Mac & Cheese Pasta: Delicious & flavourful cheese sauce & perfectly cooked Macaroni. We loved it!
Churros: I didn't try, but my wife liked it.
Strawberry & Chocolate Lassi: Good Strawberry Lassi, Chocolate Lassi is for adventure lovers
Desi Lassi (Salted): The usual Salt Lassi
- Polite but inattentive staff
- Slow service (but that's forgivable since they were running at total capacity & they were trying to do their best) - but Sunday lunch may not be a great time to visit if you need prompt service
- The wait staff didn't know the menu items or their availability either. It took a lot of back & forth to understand that 90% of their Tea Items (& 100% of their non-standard Tea items) are unavailable. The wait staff didn't know about the availability of the items, choosing to go back & forth to check until we asked them just to let us know what they had.
- Language gap: Wait staff neither spoke the local language nor understood basic English (even for short questions about the menu items). In a city like Chennai, especially T Nagar, where ex-pats frequent restaurants, this is a problem.
- 1.30 PM on Sunday (just a couple of hours after the opening) & they were out of most of the Tea varieties except a couple of Green Teas & Masala Chai. This was disappointing for a place named "Tea Villa," boasting an extensive Tea menu.
- We had to call the wait staff repeatedly to get water refills, light up the Fondue candle, or place our orders. While this can be understandable in a rush, it's disappointing to see at least 1 or 2 staff standing idle/staring at random tables without checking.
We paid a total of Rs. 3500 for four people, averaging Rs. 875/head - the food & service aren't worth as much, to be fair.
Another sore point was that the bill was for Rs. 3407, which already included a service charge. We paid Rs. 3500 in cash & they didn't return the change. Despite the shoddy service, we planned to tip more anyway (since the default service charge was only 5%). But they didn't even check if we wanted the change & just pocketed it without asking.