The second premises for the Roti Chai team, but with more modern Indian soul food. There’s a dining room in the back for more of a sit-down meal (opening end July 2015), but we headed to the toddy shop, where chai infused beers, and Chai KI signature toddys are drank alongside sharing plates and mains.
The food menu is split up into breakfast, sharing plates and mains. The idea behind the toddy shop is that you can have as much or as little as you’d like, if you want a quick couple of sharing dishes with a few cocktails after work, to a full meal with friends at the weekend. Make sure you take a look at the cocktail menu too, and don’t forget the pistachio kufli for dessert.
The dahi puri – mouth-sized morsels of crunchy semolina shells, filled with a sweet yoghurt, potato and a sour and fruity tamarind sauce. These were the perfect cooling bites in between the fiery hakka chilli paneer. Crisp outside but delightfully soft cubes of cheese in a spicy marinade, with a warm salad of green chilli, spring onion and lettuce were outstanding. We also tried the chicken tikka naan, a generous naan flatbread topped with sweet tender onions, peppers, fragrant chicken and a herb pesto. Our waiter said that the Himalayan ribs were by far the most popular dish, so we had to try these too and we weren’t disappointed, ridiculously sticky, sweet and juicy with just the right amount of kick. They were unashamedly messy, but in such a good way. We also tried the butter chicken from the specials, which was a generous portion of succulent chicken in a smooth, rich sauce topped with crispy fried onions. Perfect to share with the spicy ribs as a main dish.
What we’re going back for
The duck porridge main, we don’t know what it is, but we like the sound of it! I’d definitely go back for the take-out (or eat in) breakfast buns too, like the aloo tikki bun, filled with spied potato hash, a fried egg, cheese and a tamarind tomato ketchup, with one of their signature Bloody Mary cocktails (boy have they got a kick!) with their own spice blend.
What’s the room like?
The room is casual, clean and modern, with hints of India, like the wall lighting being made out of moped headlights. It’s a little dark, but in a good way. You could imagine coming here for a few cocktails off their impressive menu, and wanting to see the food menu too. There’s a lot of concrete and a simple table layout – the food speaks for itself. Make sure you head up to the roof before you leave – there’s a gorgeous park terrace with an east-meets-west theme. Great for a stroll after a few cocktails!
Need to know
All the dishes arrive at your table when they’re ready, so even if your getting a couple of sharing dishes and a main, don’t be surprised when it all arrives at the same or different times, this is relaxed dining at it’s best, so chill out with a couple of cocktails and stagger your order if you want a rest between dishes.
What we loved
We loved the menu layout of Chai Ki, and the attitude towards food. I met with the owner Rohit, who described it as ‘a little tongue in cheek’, trying to push the food into new flavour profiles and not apologizing for it. We think it’s working. It’s the sort of place you want to go back to, because there’s too much on the menu for you to choose from that while you’re deciding what to have today, you’re arranging what you’ll have next time too. We’ll definitely be heading back when the dining room opens.
Check out chai-ki.com for more information and bookings.
By Anna Glover
Pictures by Paul Winch-Furness
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