You either have to love a place or hate a place to write much about it. A feeling of some sort that can gush down to your fingertips and then the word document via the beaten keyboard. My past two reviews are proofs of this ideology. I loved the food, the service and everything else. In this review, you are going to get a load of negative vibes from me. So if you don’t want to disrupt your chirpy day, I’d suggest you keep this review for a grumpy day.
The reason for my irritation is a café called the Tea Junction in Oud Metha area of Dubai. I know I risk being shrugged off as a ‘once in a blue moon’ incident, or a prejudiced consumer, or a hard-to-impress foodie. Disregarding that risk, and the risk of being verbally abused by the café’s loyal patrons, I hereby dare to speak my mind. The place is a disgrace to the smart name, the lovely ambience and the enticing concept. It would make you wonder how such a café of marvelous interior, harbor such inferior food and mocking service.
My first visit to Tea Junction was after I heard some raves about it from a friend. I stepped in with my husband, and quite honestly, neither of us were prepared for the enormous space it held. If we didn’t like looking matured and sophisticated, we would have let out a shout, just to see if the place would give back some echo. Yes, it was tall and nice. Sunlight filtered through colored glasses that went all the way up till the ceiling. There was wood on the floor and walls, there were couches and there were beanbags. Better still, there were television screens and games from chess to carroms too. Near the billing counter, there was a shelf with funky fridge magnets, keychains, mugs and other collectable things. On a high note, we looked through the menu, ready to be impressed. What we saw, failed to take us any higher, but we maintained our high ordering the house special Cutting Chai, a Samosa plate and an Apple-Cinnamon Crepe.
During the wait for our order, I took a walk around to see the offerings closely. The games included Scrabble, UNO Cards, Chess and more, all of which can be used free of cost if you step in for a tea. The carrom board usage however, required a minimum spend of AED 20 per head. There were seating upstairs that gave you privacy and seating downstairs that gave you loads of light. It seemed like an ideal place if you wanted to ‘chill’ with your friends after college hours for a chai.
When our order came to the table, it looked impressive in a glance. The chai was served in the short glass, which you will be missing here in Dubai, if you are from India. It was authentic, to say the least. The samosas were alright, though we have had better from other Indian joints that dot the areas of Karama. Now, the crepe, was what you can call an utter disappointment. The menu described it as soft, which it wasn’t. The menu claimed there would be pureed apple slices inside, which there weren’t.. All I could find, was a crepe difficult to cut even with a fork and knife, some strawberries and apples on the top and annoyingly plain apple slices rubbed with some cinnamon powder, stuffed inside. Needless to say, I was mighty disappointed.
The waiter heard me out as I explained this wasn’t what I ordered, as I did not find any sort of pureed apples in my crepe. Failing to get a solution from him, I requested him to take it back, and ordered a Nutella crepe, to be on the safer side and to do justice to my breakfast. The nutella crepe was all right, probably because it is extremely difficult to mess up something as simple as that.
The next day, I gave them a feedback of the crepes on their facebook wall, which they “appreciated” saying it probably happened “a long while ago” and that it is all fine now. They had my attention, and my reply was ‘liked’ when I told them exactly how recent the incident was. Oddly the only response I got, was some 2 weeks later- “Hey! You’re one of the winners of the 50 dirhams voucher, just come and collect it from our cafe 🙂Congratulations!”. Oh well. So there was the second chance extended to me to fall in love with the place.
My second trip to Tea Junction sadly proved to be worse. I wanted to collect the voucher, and like any sane person, use it to have breakfast too. But some over-smart management guys just like to push your buttons, making up unnecessarily crude rules to irritate you down to your skins. I was told by the waiter with a mocking smile that I can use the voucher only from the next day. I tried to reason with him that the rule makes no sense et cetera, but all he had to offer me was another one of his mocking smiles and a “Sorry maam, that’s the rule!”.
Well, they earned their 50 dhs back when we had our breakfast there that day. This time we ordered a Full House, worth 24 dhs and a Chicken-Cheese omelet (18 dhs) with a fancy name that I can’t remember now. Bottom-line: the Full House had scrambled eggs, more brown than yellow, flavorless mushrooms, two slices of toasted bread, turkey bacon strips dripping oil and the worst watery baked beans ever. It had to be noted that the scrambled eggs we make at home would be better done and delightfully yellow than what the café had to offer, and canned beans from supermarkets would undoubtedly be richer in flavor than their Baked Beans. I could have imagined myself to be biased and prejudiced, but the pictures help to see better light. Like the water that comes up on top of the fork. #FAIL
So if any of you would like to check and see for yourself how good the café is, feel free to get the 50 dhs voucher from me and go ahead. It is open all days from 8am- 12am. Step in for a tea, which can take you high, and attempt a snack, which I’m positive can bring you crashing down.