Punjabi afternoon tea is not a concept I was previously familiar with. Recently that changed, as myself and two of my favourite girls, Valerie and Isabel were invited for that very experience in nearby Milton Keynes, at independently owned restaurant brand, Namji.
A two branch outfit, with their flagship fine dining eaterie in Wolverton and more recently – bravely opened during a global pandemic – the bustling location of Xscape.
I’ve visited the central Milton Keynes venue several times now, as there’s a lot going on there, be it their high energy launch night or their raucus rapscalion comedy drag night, it’s all happening there.
This most recent visit was our collective first experience of the traditional Punjabi afternoon tea.
I really had no idea what to anticipate, wasn’t quite sure it could be as aesthetically pleasing as a conventional British one, simply because it’s all I have know thus far. I was quickly re-educated and delighted to be proved wrong on so many levels.
Choosing non alcoholic drinks when out for lunch or dinner has become a new experience here for us girls, as Namji do not serve alcohol. BYOB is a popular option however and we have utilised that previously of an evening. For afternoon tea though, we succumbed to their own mocktail mixology and were exultant in our choices. I personally had the virgin wine spritzer which tasted as good as any fully loaded glass could.
So we started off with the perfectly presented Punjabi street food Pani Puri, it has quite the cult following on instagram with over 650k posts on that one eponymous hashtag alone! You can either shot then snack or pour in, allowing it to permeate the puff pastry as you savour the piquancy. Your own bespoke taste sensation if you will.
Once our appetites had been whetted, the main event was not only pleasing to the eye but the savoriness, oh my! Pretty as a picture, this is an instagram delight.
Bottoms up, lowest layer we enjoyed mini maliks, sheesh kebab wrap and mini imra KUKU boti wrap sandwich with homemade tamarind dippiung sauce.
Let’s talk next level: lamb & vegetable samosa, samosa chaat, mini chilli paneer and flavoursome fish pakoras in spiced garam flour. The chillipaneer is my personal favourite (below) – a punch packed Khan family recipe, so a UK exclusive to Namji.
If you have any room left whatsoever, top tier we were blessed with Halwa with honey & toasted cashews, Halwa with honey, toasted almonds, pistachios and cashews and a coconut barfi.
I mean…. what actually just happened to our stomachs? I feel like traditional afternoon tea will never be the same again with this new benchmark.
We were stuffed, but not in a heavy sugar shocked way, rather fully savoury sated and our palettes pleased.
Namji is without doubt a thoroughly welcome independent addition to Xscape which is blooming with non chain eateries these days and it’s a joy to see.
You can book the Punjabi afternoon tea here and with Mothers day this weekend its a great idea for something that little bit unique.
Let me know your thoughts, does this get your taste buds in a tizzy?
Until next time my lovelies x