Toddy shop at Chai Ki

Paul Winch-Furness / PhotographerGetting its name from quaint establishments popular in south India for selling ‘toddy’ – an alcoholic beverage that is fermented from the sap of palm trees, Toddy Shop is a refreshing new Indian bar, home to the banking side of East London. Canary Wharf’s newest shopping mall Crossrail Place has finally put noteworthy restaurants on this side of the map. Rohit Chugh, the Founder of famed Indian restaurant Roti Chai, and formerly linked to The Cinnamon Club has opened the Toddy Shop at Chai Ki. The restaurant itself, a more formal affair, will open later this July.

Paul Winch-Furness / Photographer
Take your pick from their cleverly put together spicy and soulful Indian snack menu. The food takes inspiration from the bold flavours and spirit of the palm-lined Malabar Coast in Southern India.

If you stop over for breakfast, indulge in Idli Sambar – a south Indian soft dumpling accompanied by a flavourful lentil curry. Or go all out and try their Full Nashta (breakfast) with a twist – bacon, anda bhurji (spicy scrambled eggs), aloo tikki hash, masala beans (Rohit’s mum’s recipe), spiced sausage and tomato.

We were there for dinner, so we started with a portion of their crispy and sweet Koliwada Calamari made with jaggery cane sugar and roasted cumin. For mains we mopped up creamy Punjabi spice simmered Dhal Fry with buttery garlic naan breads. The Dhai Puri – crunchy semolina shells, filled with potato, sweet yoghurt and ‘imli’ (tamarind) sauce was cooling with a nice bite to it. The sweet and spicy flavours complemented each other and stood out brightly.

Paul Winch-Furness / Photographer
To drink, blend in with a refreshing drink – Kovalam Beach is made with lychee, guava, ginger ale and coconut; For something a little boozy, try the Indian version of the Bloody Mary – ‘Reincarnation’ or the famous Chai Ki Toddy made with Ceylon Arrack, pineapple and chai masala. We opted for a pot of peppermint tea to end our meal on a minty note.

The space is complete with a dark oak floor, bespoke headlight lamps (recreating those found on cars and scooters in India), railway luggage racks, exposed structural steels and block work. An open kitchen, framed with concrete walls provides a backdrop to the space.

Go if you are looking for a place to chill with some classy cocktails and spicy bar snacks – Indian style.

Chai Ki, 1 Crossrail Place, London, E14 5AR | | T: @ChaiKiLondon 

Image credits Paul Winch-Furness.

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