Gallops, the oldest restaurant in Mahalaxmi Racecourse and an iconic destination for South Mumbai was started as a venture by three friends, Rahul Malik, Jasmine Singh and Bobby Singh in the September of 1986. By Tara Choudhary
In the past three decades, the Gallops has become an extremely sought-after and popular venue for its beautiful ambience that looks out onto the lush green landscape of the racecourse as well as for its classic multi-cuisine menu and decor that combine old-world charm with new and modern aesthetic.
As the restaurant celebrates its third decade, it presents for the first time an English High Tea experience, with Tea Charlies and a Tea Service to be savoured, especially in the beautiful Mumbai monsoon. The High Tea Menu has been created by the culinary experts in Gallops’ Culinary Team and amalgamates a variety of flavours that preserve a classic touch but also cater to a modern palette.
As we arrived at the restaurant, which sits amidst white picket fences, facing the racetrack, it was hard not to imagine what sipping a cup of tea outdoors when the monsoon is over would be like. On entering, we were transported to the gymkhana-like environment we had all seen as children, with the rustic look of the restaurant and its cosy interior.
Once seated, we received an elaborate tea menu, and from which we chose a classic option with good-old Masala Chai and a more adventurous option, with their Mogo Mogo Green Tea. The loose-leaf tea selection at Gallops is specially curated by TGL Co, a luxury tea company based out of Mumbai that provides a variety of unique tea flavours that pack a punch. While the Masala Chai was pleasant (just as we would expect) — packed with aromatic spices, strong, with sugar on the side to be added as per your preference, the Mogo Mogo Green Tea was fruity with floral notes and completely unlike any tea we had tasted before. The green tea flavour was mild but still present, complimented by the fruity flavours that made us go wow on our first sip.
After a short wait, our High Tea selection in both the vegetarian and non-vegetarian options was brought to us on a custom-made tea Charlie and spotless china. We started with the English Butter Cookies, which were just as light, deliciously buttery and expected, but not overly sweet, which made them go well with the teas. Along a similar route, we dove straight for the Cheese Straws next, which, as underwhelming as the name usually sounds, were the most flavourful, crunchy and flaky versions of the snack I have ever tasted. They had a slight spiciness too, which balanced the overall cheesy flavour. Definitely got more than I expected from a simple Cheese Straw.
Next, we moved onto the larger savoury elements of the selection, starting with the Grilled Vegetable Sandwich. This sandwich was fresh and crunchy, and even with only vegetables in its filling, it delivered perfectly and made even this simple filling seem exciting with strong flavours of basil to couple it and make it more complex. After this we tried the Chicken and Avocado Wrap, which called out to me because of the bright green colour of the wrap. The wrap was soft and had a tangy flavour and would overall have made a very satiating main course dish even if I had eaten just that by itself. The chilli garnish on the top was a nice touch and added to both the look and the flavour of the wrap.
The next thing we tried was the Chilli Cheese Toast, which ticked every box a savoury snack should. It was crunchy when I bit into it, however the soft melted cheese on it gave a nice contrast, and while it was spicy, it wasn’t unbearably so. The tomatoes on it gave a nice texture and although I am not usually a fan of them, they complimented the rest of the dish very well. After this I tried the Turkey, Emmenthal and Cranberry Sandwich and although each of the previous items had been really well made, this one won the prize in my eyes as the best savoury item. This sandwich had the most delicious combination of ingredients, with the cranberry adding a slightly sweet, tart element to the subtle flavours of the cheese and Turkey. A complete winner!
Although, we were quite full by this point with all the snacks, we did not want to stop. We moved on to try the Scones with Highland Cream and Preserves, to change up the flavour palette a bit with a sweet item. These were the definition of ‘melt-in-your-mouth’, with their crumbly, biscuit-like texture. The clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam completed the experience of eating this dish without which our English High Tea would have been incomplete. We also tried the Raspberry Macaroon and the Fresh Fruit Tartlet, both of which were fruity dishes, however complimented each other well because while one had a more fresh flavour from the sliced fruits, the other had the familiar raspberry taste within it from berries we all know and love but don’t usually find readily available in India. The macaroon also had a deep, rich pink colour, which made it even more appealing than your average macaroon. Keeping our sweet streak, we tried the bite-sized Chocolate Pound Cake and the Spiced Carrot Cake, both of which were very flavoursome and tasted great, but conveniently sized for a High Tea, where people may not be able to stomach whole slices of cake.
To finish off our High Tea, we tried the Arabic Falafel and the Bocconcini and Tomato sandwich. The falafel was another favourite as it combined many flavours and textures with its tangy, slightly spicy taste and soft texture of the bread along with the crunch from the falafel coating. The tomato sandwich used pesto, which gave it a beautifully fresh flavour, and the cheese was subtle but completed the sandwich and made it more wholesome. Finally, even the bread on this sandwich was not ordinary and was a deep-fried variant which went well with the rest of the ingredients, added a crispiness and took away the usually boring or mediocre prospect of eating plain bread.
Overall, our meal at Gallops was one to remember and has made the High Tea Experience a new favourite on our list of ‘Things to do on an otherwise average weekend in Mumbai’. Our favourite dishes from the High Tea Menu that we’d recommend you try on your visit to the iconic restaurant are the Cheese Straws, Mogo Mogo Green Tea, Arabic Falafel, Fresh Fruit Tartlet and Turkey, Emmental and Cranberry Sandwich. Trust us, you will not regret it!
High Tea at Gallops
Address: Inside Mahalaxmi Racecourse, Via Gate No:1, Keshavrao Khadye Marg, Royal
Western India Turf Club, Mahalakshmi, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400034
Timings: Monday to Sunday – 3 pm to 6:30 pm
Tel No: 022 2307 1448
Cost for two: Approximately INR 2,000