Newly opened in the depths of Crossrail Place is an Indian street food restaurant causing a sensation.
Chai Ki is a spacious all-day Indian restaurant and toddy shop bar. Decked out in an industrial chic décor composed of steel ducting pipes, high ceiling, concrete walls and hanging lights all combined with a bright colour palette make this extremely inviting restaurant space. What’s more — the menu is inspired by delicious South India’s roadside street food vendors.
Chai is the new sister venue to the already immensely popular Roti Chai in Marylebone. The menus have some similarities but Chai Ki offers an extensive choice of creative cocktails, mocktails and chais all infusing South Asian flavours, as well as breakfast dishes, sharing plates and traditional curries.
The dishes and flavours on the menu at Chai Ki are immensely attractive and as a result, we ended up ordering quite a few dishes on my visit. To start we ordered Bhel Puri, a traditional Indian street food dish made of puffed rice, potato, onions and tamarind sauce, as well as Dahi Puri made of light and crispy crunchy semolina shells filled with potato, refreshing sweet yoghurt, and even more gorgeous tamarind sauce.
I also tried the Shakarkandi Chaat which is a unique and creative combination of sweet potato, not usually used in chaat dishes, with spiced chickpeas, sev, tamarind, papri and mint yoghurt. For our final starter we ordered Chicken Lollipops coated in tamarind, shallots, ginger and coriander which had an unexpected spicy kick to them!
Each of the starters served are sharing plates and therefore easy to mix and match. Moving on from our starters, I ordered Dakshini Korma as my main course which was made up of aubergine, sweet potato, snow peas, South Indian spices and coconut milk. This delicious mildly-spiced dish worked well with the Burnt Ginger Rice, which I ordered as a side.
What I particularly like at Roti Chai (and now Chai Ki as well) is the creativity they bring to traditional dishes, and in particular the Indo-Chinese flavours they have introduced to some dishes, a trend which is popular in Indian itself.
We also constantly nibbled on ridiculously addictive Masala Fries throughout our meal and tried a few refreshing drinks too — including my favourite Kovalam Beach composed of guava, coconut, lychee and ginger ale. I also finished my meal on a high note with a glass of Panjabi style masala chai.
The prices at Chai Ki are varied but always reasonable. The chai and mocktails are particularly well priced at approximately £3.50 each. The starters range from £6 – £9 and are similarly priced to main courses as they can be easily interchanged in the tapas-style dining Chai Ki promotes.
Overall, I was a particular fan of the authentic street food served at Roti Chai but I am now an even bigger fan of Chai Ki. The large dining space, creative menu, eclectic drinks and relaxed vibe mean I will definitely be frequenting the restaurant much more! ∎
(Food photography: Her Favourite Food for Bubbobar; cover photo via: http://www.chai-ki.com)
Mall Level -1
London E14 5AR