Masala Zone Criterion – Piccadilly Circus


Having High Tea at the Masala Zone Criterion felt like such a special dining experience. Entering the restaurant, what was striking was the modern and grand surroundings. There was the gold ceiling, characteristic ornaments and the lighting highlighting the dining sections and bar. There was a seating area at the front of the restaurant, followed by the middle section of the bar, a big group table and then a bigger seating section at the back of the restaurant.

Masala Zone has their signature Masala Chai and they also have Assam and Darjeeling teas available. As a strong tea was preferred, the Assam tea was recommended. It was served with the requested coconut milk and almond milk. It was great to be given a small cup of their Masala Chai to try too. This was rich and sweet. A small cup was just the right amount. The pot of tea was served by the staff. Another drink that was on the menu was Thandai. This was described as a sweet and spicy milk drink made with almonds, saffron and spices. This wasn’t tried on this occasion.

All of the High Tea was so tasty, moreish and deliciously decadent. The variety of the sweet and savoury foods was perfect. The first tier of the High Tea was served warm. The Chettinad Cod Croquette had a subtle earthy smoky flavour due to the spices and didn’t overpower the tender fish. A mini lamb kebab made up the Lamb Slider. The lamb was moist with good flavour. The bun was slightly toasted. The Punjabi Vegetable Samosa was a combination of mashed and chunky vegetables and cashews encased in a crispy pastry. The two versions of the Pakoras were lovely. These were skewers of beetroot pakora and onion spinach pakora. The chutneys complemented the starters really well. The three chutneys were sweet tangy tamarind, mint coriander and cashew, fruity mango mayonnaise.

The second tier had the extremely tasty finger sandwiches. They both had a generous amount of filling. The Cheese and Chutney Sandwich had a layer of the mint coriander cashew chutney. The Chicken Tikka Sandwich had the creamy mango mayonnaise. Both sandwiches were elevated in flavour with the addition of the chutneys.

The sweet delights on the upper tier had a combination of Indian items as well as regular cakes. Two mini Gulab Jamans came in a shot glass filled with the sticky sweet rose water syrup. They were like doughnuts, just delightful steeped in the syrup. The Nankathai was a perfectly crumbly shortbread biscuit. The layered chocolate ganache and sponge Opera Cake was the chocolate item. The Plum Cake slice was full of plump fruit. The toffee flavour shone through in the Toffee Walnut cake. The creamy topping made for a nice contrast to the chunky nuts. The sweet items really hit the spot to bring the High Tea to a close.

The staff were so welcoming and friendly. They gave such fantastic service, being attentive but not intrusive. When the High Tea was served, the staff explained all the items in detail. They gave recommendations on which items would complement each chutney. The staff made the diner feel so comfortable. They were focused on making the dining experience truly wonderful and special.

The High Tea at Masala Zone Criterion was fantastic in every possible way. The range, quality, freshness of the food items, the staff, the clean restaurant environment made it a wonderful and enjoyable place to come for an Indian High Tea.

Masala Zone Criterion, 224 Piccadilly Circus, London, W1J 9HP

Rating: ★★★★★

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