Reviewed by Ruman
In their own words, Chit Chaat Chai started with a Bombay bhel, or rather a lack of one. Featured in our 2017 list of ones to watch last year, we’ve been fans of this South London restaurant since it first caught our attention when it opened in 2016. It takes something special to get Zohra and I to trek across the river to South London and Chit Chaat Chai is just that.
If there’s one word that springs to mind when I think of Chit Chaat Chai, it’s ‘vibes’. From the artsy decor which includes an appreciation for desi artists whose works are often displayed across the walls of the restaurant to the hip hop playing over the speakers and the friendly staff. We found ourselves in Battersea on a weekday recently and knew exactly where we’d be heading for lunch.
When we arrived we were greeted by a waiter who showed us a table at the front of the restaurant (they also have seating further in and their section upstairs is great for private events). Having read about their lunch menu on the way to the restaurant, it didn’t take too long to decide on our chaats. We started off with the Yoghurt Puris (or Dahi Puris as the Indian in me likes to call them). Three crispy puris were filled with yoghurt, tamarind and chickpeas. These were topped with crispy sev and a pomegranate seed – just perfect!
Next up was the Pau Bhaji. For those of you who may not have tried this Indian street food before, this consists of mashed root vegetables served with buttery brioche buns. I found the dish to be too sweet for my liking (I think this was because of the tomatoes in the veg and not the buns) and felt like it needed a bit more of a savoury flavour.
The lunch menu allows you to choose between a 2 course chaat for £7 or a three course chaat for £10 and is available every day from 12pm to 3pm. Zohra ordered the chicken kati roll from the ‘bigger chaats’ section as her ‘main’ course. Tandoor fired chicken was wrapped in a fresh hot roti which created a very filling dish.
My favourite dish of the meal was actually one that we’d ordered off the A la Carte menu. Fried okra tossed in a special masala created such a treat. A little salty because of the spices in the masala but a great side nonetheless. I’ve tried recreating these at home and let’s just say I think I’ll stick with going to Chit Chaat Chai for my okra fries fix.
To round off a filling lunch, I ordered a cup of chai and out came two. A complimentary chai came to our table (thanks team!) and because Zohra was staying away from dairy that day, it meant all the more for me. I’ve had many a cup of chai at various Indian restaurants around London and Chit Chaat Chai hands down serve my favourite cuppa. I like the sweetness that comes in their chai – if you prefer a stronger brew, this might not be the one for you. Served alongside a cardamom and nutty kulfi, this was a sweet ending to a relaxed lunch.
Overall at just £7 for two courses, Chit Chaat Chai’s lunch menu is great value for money. Although the menu doesn’t contain some of our favourite chaats that are served at the restaurant (to be expected), it is still sure to leave you more than satisfied.
Value for money: 8/10 (£17.50 total bill including service charge // £8.75pp)
Halal Status: All meat served is halal. Alcohol is available.
Address: 356 Old York Road, London, SW18 1SS
Nearest station: Wandsworth Town (Southern Train)
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Ruman eats a brownie a day, but only with coffee. She struggles to eat more than 2/3 of an adult size portion of food, but always has room for dessert. When not exploring restaurants, galleries or cities around the world, Ruman is a Marketing Ninja at Halal Gems, where she also holds the title of Chief Chocolate Officer.
Forever consumed by a mixture of wanderlust and FOMO, her interests include all things social media, travel, charity, photography and food.
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Reviewed by Ruman