Chai Ki

This place was actually recommended to me by one of my close friends at work.. and what an amazing recommendation it was! Someone who I work closely with was over from India working in the London office for a while and when her time here was coming to an end I wanted to organise a lunch for her to try our take on Indian food. Iโ€™m not that familiar with restaurants around South East London as I donโ€™t tend to go there outside of working hours (I spend far too much time in the bubble that is Canary Wharf!) but this has become a staple for me, along with Sticks n Sushi which is right next door ๐Ÿ™‚ I really want to take Marcus here as Iโ€™m sure heโ€™d love it but Iโ€™ve (thankfully) yet to have to go to the Wharfย on a weekend!

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I love everything about this place – the atmosphere, the interior design and the menu. Itโ€™s definitely on the nicer side of Canary Wharf – itโ€™s on the other side of the main shopping centre so itโ€™s generally quieter and more relaxed. Iโ€™ve only actually been for lunch but I imagine that dinner is even more special. On entering thereโ€™s a bar area at the front where you can eat at lunch time on high tables or a restaurant area at the back which you can book out. They’re surprisingly busy during the week at lunch time – without a booking itโ€™s hard to eat in the main restaurant.. then again itโ€™s Canary Wharf where everyone seems to be happy to fork out a fortune for every meal! The first time we went we sat in the restaurant at the back and it was lovely – quiet enough to be able to have a conversation but loud enough that it didnโ€™t feel awkward to talk. The food was incredible! As always (but even more so this time!) my pictures absolutely donโ€™t do it justice – I was obviously there to chat and enjoy my meal so I either forgot to take photos or they were terrible as we were all eating ๐Ÿ™‚ But please take my word for it – everything was amazing!

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Since we were quite a big group I think we pretty much got to try the whole menu between us, and no one had a bad word to say ๐Ÿ™‚ We got a bunch of starters to share – chicken tikka naan (tandoori chicken, peppers, red onions, yogurt, mint coriander chutney), coorgi pulled pork (pulled pork shoulder, coconut, curry leaf, chilli, Malabar paratha), Burnt chilli chicken (Indo-Chinese Szechwan sauce, red & green peppers and spring onion), Bhel puri (puffed rice, potato, onions, coriander mint chutney, tamarind), Idli Sambar (steamed rice cakes with spiced lentil and vegetable stew, tomato chutney) and a few portions of their Masala fries.

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For mains I went for the Konkan Chicken (cinnamon, star anise, mustard seeds, mooli, pepper and coconut milk). It came with steamed basmati and it was perfect. The sauce was creamy and had a slight kick to it and the chicken was tender and flavoursome. My only criticism would be that there wasnโ€™t enough rice, so Iโ€™d definitely advise ordering extra, or some extra bread to mop up the amazing sauce – trust me you wonโ€™t want to waste even a teaspoon of that stuff!

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For dessert I decided to be oh so adventurous and order the chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream ๐Ÿ˜› I also got a Masala Chai (basically a chai latte..) which was deliciously aromatic and sweet. I canโ€™t remember what else was on the menu but I don’t think Iโ€™d get the brownie again. It was a little dry, and not very dense or fudgy like a brownie should be. The ice cream was okay.. but definitely nothing special.

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The second time I went my friend took me out there for a spontaneous lunch. We didnโ€™t have a booking so we sat in the bar area as there was no space in the main restaurant. Although I preferred sitting at the back itโ€™s still a decent seating area. The food was just as good as before, the service was quick and even though we got starters and mains we managed to get in and out in just over half an hour. I couldnโ€™t resist getting the same Konkan chicken curry that Iโ€™d had the first time – it was just so good. I ordered the chicken tikka naan to come along side it to mop up the sauce, but the naan was so full of amazing toppings that there still wasnโ€™t enough bread left! Next time I am definitely ordering a double side of basmati!

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My friend got the Bun Farcha (green chutney marinated chicken, ginger, chilli, chaat masala, slaw). It wasnโ€™t what I expected at all – it was a breaded chicken fillet in a brioche bun! It tasted good but I personally wouldn’t order it.

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After the disappointment of the chocolate brownie the first time, we decided to head to Lolaโ€™s for dessert instead for another one of many cupcakes eaten that week ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Overall I love the food here and itโ€™s perfect for a quick work lunch as the service is fast and the food is amazing. My Indian friend also said that she loved it.. but sheโ€™s also an extremely lovely and polite person, so who knows – though I do have a number of Indian friends who also eat here regularly so I take that as a good sign! Iโ€™d definitely like to come back for dinner sometime – the menu is very different and has a lot of alternative meats such as quail or guinea fowl as well as larger sharing plates and a lot of vegetarian options ๐Ÿ™‚ They even do breakfast – including pancakes, porridge, and an Indian twist on some of the bacon, egg and sausage classics.

Would I recommend it? Yes
Worth going out of your way for? Probably not – there are a lot of nice places to eat in London and itโ€™s a bit of a trek from Central!
Would I go back? Yes

Link to their website:ย http://chai-ki.com

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