AD – This was a complimentary experience in return for a review.
One of my most requested MK Food Guides over the past six months has been afternoon tea and so I’ve been researching and reviewing some of Milton Keynes’ independent spots to bring you a guide to the best afternoon teas in MK. This has involved a lot of eating – it’s a hard life! To satisfy your appetite before my guide is finalised and give you a little taster of what’s to come, I’ll also be reviewing each destination in depth. First up is Maaya Indian Bar & Kitchen, a contemporary Indian restaurant in the Hub in Central Milton Keynes.
I reviewed Maaya way back when it first opened in 2016 (excuse the photos – I’ve learned a lot in the last three years!) The food was good but I wasn’t blown away by the service. That said, I’ve only heard good things since and they took my feedback on board. It’s taken me a while to return and I was very intrigued to visit to review their Indian afternoon tea. Forget scones, cucumber sandwiches and delicate slices of cake – Maaya offer something a little different and I couldn’t wait to try it!
Located on Rillaton Walk in the Hub (directly opposite Sweat Studios), you might walk past Maaya in a hurry and miss it, but the interior is pretty stunning. Modern, fresh and not an ounce of tackiness about it, the wooden panels and metallic accents make it feel like a rather luxurious dining destination. We visited on a very warm Sunday afternoon around 3pm so the restaurant was fairly quiet when we visited.
Maaya’s Indian afternoon tea is £16.95 per person and includes a glass of prosecco, food and unlimited tea or coffee. There is no menu on the website for the food but if you have any dietary requirements just let them know in advance and they will cater for you.
On arrival, we had a very warm welcome by the waiters – I can’t remember the name of who served us but he was excellent and provided very attentive and friendly service throughout our meal. Shortly after we were seated, we were served a platter of poppadoms.with three chutneys: Mango chutney, an onion pickle and tomato chutney. The mango was delicious and lovely and sweet. The onion pickle was definitely my favourite – fresh with a nice kick to it! I’d literally eat poppadoms all day if I could – they are my ultimate pre-Indian snack!
We were swiftly served a glass of prosecco which was beautifully presented with fruity garnishes. The restaurant was quite hot (my only real criticism!) so a cold glass of prosecco was quite welcome!
It was then time for the main event!
The afternoon tea is definitely a showstopper. Featuring three tiers of deliciousness, the Indian afternoon tea features a range of Indian snacks and desserts. Delicate isn’t the first word I would use when I think of Indian food, but Maaya has nailed the presentation of the afternoon tea and it’s the perfect balance of Indian flavours and foods with a touch of afternoon tea elegance.
Let’s take a look at the food, tier by tier… On the bottom tier, we have onion bhajis and filled poppadom shells. The bhajis were giant – crispy on the outside and soft and sweet in the middle. The filled poppadom shells were delicious and had a small scoop of bombay potato inside. They could have been filled a little more but it was only because it tasted so good! The shells were crisp and salty which went so well with the bombay potatoes.
There was so much food there was one little dish that didn’t fit on the cake stand. A vegetable samosa and fishcake which both went down so well. I couldn’t quite taste the fish in the fishcake but my god, this was good. The samosa was perfectly done with a nice thick crisp pastry and tasty filling – definitely one of the highlights of the selection.
On the middle tier, there were two pots of lamb biryani and chilli chicken along with two chicken tikka wraps. The chilli chicken was definitely a crowd-pleaser – sweet, a little spicy with a sticky texture. The chicken tikka wraps were good, though they were a little dry on the outside. I definitely dipped them in leftover mango chutney though which made up for it.
The stand out dish on the middle tier was the lamb biriyani. Ohhh it was so tasty! The rice was perfectly cooked and the lamb was tender. There was a lovely buttery sweetness to this dish which meant I just couldn’t get enough. This has definitely persuaded me that I need to come back again for a curry!
The final tier was, of course, the dessert tier. We were just starting to get full – Indian food is filling but we definitely had enough room for something sweet! This tier was beautifully presented and comprised of Gulab Juman, a Malteaser cheesecake and some macarons. Gulab Jamun is a milk-solid-based sweet. It is made with milk solids, sugar, rose syrup & cardamom powder. They are usually served hot but as everything else had been warm, it made sense to have a chilled dessert. Dan really enjoyed these, but I wasn’t so sure – I loved the taste but the dense texture was not for me!
The Malteaser cheesecake was DELICIOUS and very naughty – dense cheesecake topped with a Malteaser with some hidden chocolate chunks inside. Yum! I could only manage one strawberry macaron which was lovely – crisp shell and chewy inside filled with tart strawberry jam.
I was really impressed with Maaya’s Indian afternoon tea offering – I was so intrigued to see how they would pull it off but it really was excellent. The food was delicious, service was great and I think it’s excellent value for what basically felt like a three-course meal – we did not need dinner after this!
If you’re looking for a relaxed afternoon tea with a difference, I would definitely recommend Maaya. It’s a great ‘boyfriend’ afternoon tea as it’s not too over the top – I know I probably won’t be bringing Dan along to a few of my future afternoon tea reviews haha!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – does this tickle your tastebuds? Where’s your favourite spot for afternoon tea?
FIND IT: The Hub, 2 Rillaton Walk, Milton Keynes MK9 2FZ. Free parking for three hours in Sainsbury’s car park.
Maaya’s Indian Afternoon Tea is £16.95 per person and includes a glass of prosecco and unlimited tea and coffee. Head to www.maayamiltonkeynes.com to book and view menus. Booking for the afternoon tea is essential.
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DISCLAIMER: This afternoon tea was complimentary in return for this review and inclusion in my upcoming afternoon tea MK Food Guide. This doesn’t affect my opinion – I’ll only recommend somewhere if it’s delicious!