I wanted to do something special with my mom over the holidays. I saw online that there was a place in Surrey, not far from where she lives, that offers their own spin on high tea – Tokyo Mithaiwala.
My mom and I are a bit like high tea connnoisseurs. It’s been our thing for well over a decade. We used to hop from hotel to hotel, teahouse to teahouse to try them all. We are also of a fijian indian background. Seeing that Tokyo Mithaiwala offered a high tea with an indian spin with dishes like samosa rolls or coconut chutney sandwiches caught our interest. Also, since it’s the week between Christmas and New Years, it was nice to have something with a holiday twist – their christmas high tea.
Okay, so let’s talk the good, the bad, the ugly. The restaurant itself is charming. It looks clean and inviting. I loved the sign on the back wall and the elegant Christmas tree under it. There’s plenty of seating and a counter where you can purchase Indian sweets that are laid out perfectly on display behind glass.
We were seated at a small table in the corner. We knew we were going to get the high tea, but we decided to try some other options from their a la carte menu as well. I asked the waitress a question about the chilli cheese and what it comes with to dip. She answered that it was the gouda. I had trouble wrapping my head around this because dipping cheese into cheese sauce wasn’t registering – that, and also I could have sworn that I saw the chilli cheese being offered with other dipping options on Instagram. I asked her a couple times what we were dipping into the cheese before it registered. It wasn’t until I got home that I looked at their social media and I saw that they were offering the chilli cheese with pakoras. I wonder why that wasn’t brought to my attention at the time when I kept asking what they had to dip into the cheese. I would have definitely preferred to try that out. Either way, we were feeling adventurous, so we went with an order of the chilli cheese and aloo matar baked kulcha.
- christmas afternoon tea – this was presented beautifully! It was brought out in a three tier birdcage tray. So pretty! The items on it were roasted pepper and smoked gouda sandwich, tomato and coconut chutney sandwich, paneer sausage roll, ajwain scone, whipped schischimi butter, cranberry ginger chutney, samosa roll, veg bullet, red velvet cupcake, double chocolate brownie, strawberry cheesecake, with a choice of tea, coffee, hot chocolate or mulled wine. For us, the items in the high tea were hit and miss. Things that stood out to me were the samosa roll and veg bullet. They were great. My mom enjoyed the ajwain scone and the smoked gouda sandwich. The desserts were not bad. I found the other savoury items to be a bit underwhelming. I had their masala chai for my beverage and it was so, so, so good! I could have drank a gallon of it.
- chilli cheese fondue with smoked gouda, togarashi, lentil dippers – I thought the chilli cheese fondue was delicious. The dippers looked to be a mix of the gouda and other listed ingredients deep fried. I did not like the dipper and as I mention above, I wasn’t a fan of the idea of dipping cheese into more cheese. I think the pakoras with that cheese sauce was probably really good.
- aloo matar baked kulcha – indian flatbread stuffed with peas and potatoes. So I’ve never tried kulcha before, so i had to google it before we ordered. It’s very much like naan, but the centre is a bit fluffier. They stuffed it and serve it with a side of curried peas. Oh my goodness, this was the clear winner of the afternoon for us. I would come back again to have some more and they have other variations (stuffed with other things) on the menu. I want to try them all. Order this! You won’t be sorry.
Some great things to mention about Tokyo Mithaiwala are that the menu is fully vegetarian. So if you’re a vegetarian, there are tons of options on the menu for you. The price points are great – bang for your buck. To give you an idea, the baked kulcha was pretty big and it was $9.99.
The service was okay. Our server was really friendly and pleasant. I liked her. She had one great moment that really stood out for me. After our dishes came out, we had very little room on our table. A larger table next to us opened up and she moved us without us asking so we’d have more room. I loved that! However, our chai came out last, when traditionally you should get your tea first, and we needed to remind her that we hadn’t gotten them yet. We also went for a long period without being checked on. Both of our waters were empty for majority of our seating and we wanted more chai and more sugar, but we never got a chance to ask because no one came around. By the time they did, we were full and pretty much done, so we opted to get our bills instead.
Overall, we had fun. The place gives me more cafe vibes than restaurant vibes. I would happily come back for more chai and to try some of the other kulcha varieties. I also wished I had taken some of the sweets that were on display to go, but we were pretty stuffed when we left so I will definitely do that next time.