Tea and cake at Chaiiwala
The city’s ololden Mile is bursting with Indian restaurants, if you need a curry fix, this is where you come but recently I stumbled on its newest addition, Chaiwalla. This quirky spot is just the ticket for some tasty Indian street food especially when you’re limited on time.
The best way to describe Chaiiwala is like an Indian version of Starbucks but instead of fresh sandwiches and creamy lattes, the food consists of tasty and more-ish Indian treats – think chilli paneer, crispy samosas and masala chips.
It’s tucked away in the corner not on the main high street, so blink and you may miss it but seek it out and you shall not be disappointed.
I was immediately impressed by the modern décor. It’s refreshing to see this in an Indian eatery – it was hip, funky and so on-trend and a place everyone will love. Inside it’s small with only a handful of tables so bagging one on the weekend may prove to be a little difficult.
Hanging pendants drop from the ceiling and the walls are covered with images of the food from the menu and a good way to give you an idea of portion size – remember they’re snacks so don’t expect a side of salad and fries with your order. In all honestly, you would only need 1-2 dishes as they’re definitely filling (most of the street food is fried so leave the diet at the door) but be sure to order more if you’re there with your gal pals or the family.
After pondering over what to eat I settled for the samosas despite the staff egging me on to try the Bombay sandwiches. Five small deep-fried triangle pastry snacks stuffed with potatoes, spices and veggies arrived in a cone, wrapped in Chaiwalla printed newspaper (nice touch) and served with sweet and sticky tamarind sauce.
I didn’t manage to finish all five but that was because I had my eye on dessert – I couldn’t decide between the chocolate chaii mousse and the gajar halwa cheesecake (basically Indian carrot cake) but I opted for the latter and loved it.
The dessert menu also features things like Nutella wraps and more traditional Indian sweet treats like gulab jamun.
Tea here consists of the traditional strong Indian chai (well obvs) and then modern variations including chaii with mint, saffron, cinnamon. Coffee isn’t big on the menu but after having a karak (strong) tea you won’t really miss it.
OUT & ABOUT
As mentioned Chaiiwala is on the Golden Mile so there’s plenty to do after you’ve refuelled – primarily shopping! The opposite street is lined with gorgeous sari and fabric shops as well as a treasure trove of jewellery stores and small independent Indian food stores, so if you fancy a curry you can either grab a takeaway or attempt to make one yourself with the fresh fruit and vegetables you’ll find here.
The Muddy Verdict
Good for – for friends, families, out of towners who are visiting for the day. Even if you’re not hungry it’s worth going just for the tea.
Not for: I can’t really see granny enjoying the experience, she’s better off sticking with good old PG Tips.
The damage – Really well-priced hot drinks starts from £1.50 and the street food starts at a reasonable £2.00. Desserts from £1.00
Chaiiwala, 2 Loughborough Road, Leicester, LE4 5LD