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Along with the accompanying Toddy Shop bar, this offshoot of the Roti Chai mini-chain resides within the striking Crossrail Place. Offering traditional Indian soul food and subtle spicing, the all-day menu conjures up flavours from the subcontinent's coastal drinking dens – from sharing plates of Coorgi pulled pork or burnt chilli chicken with Indo-Chinese sauce to South Indian vegetable korma, baby back ribs with Himalayan chilli rub or Hyderabadi duck with cracked wheat, saffron and rock moss in a brioche bun. Breakfast brings funky snacks and the 'full nashta', while the evening brings more ambitious dishes in the adjoining dining room – think chicken tikka with pear, mint and mango thyme dressing. With saffron-coloured curtains, leather banquettes and a secluded waterside terrace out back, Chai Ki is a welcome escape from E14's commuter conveyor belt.
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Chai Ki is the little brother to the established Roti Chai restaurant in Marble Arch/Marylebone. Located in the new Canary Wharf Crossrail station, it’s a brilliant modern take on Indian classics that’s great for both a quick lunch with the team or a chill catch up with a friend. The décor is crisp and modern with enough character to set it apart from your typical suit haunt and the staff are friendly and always ready with a recommendation when asked.
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Newly opened Chai Ki has a menu inspired by south India’s roadside drinking dens and street food. This sister venue to Roti Chai in Marylebone is a spacious all-day Indian restaurant and toddy shop bar, with industrial chic décor composed of steel ducting pipes, high ceiling, concrete walls and hanging lights all combined with a bright colour palate to make an extremely inviting restaurant space.The menu here offers an extensive choice of creative cocktails, mocktails and chais all infusing south Asian flavours, as well as breakfast dishes, sharing plates and traditional curries.
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My memories of India are ones of sensory overload – from the hustle and bustle of the cities, to the aromas that completely overwhelm you, this was not a country that did subtlety. There was always a vibrancy to everything, a burst of life that could not be contained. Which is why I find the modern take on the cuisine to be rather fascinating. Chai Ki’s modern take on India is a curated one – which in a way is what you would expect. Any modern “art” (or cuisine) should look to challenge the classical version, if not often to do exactly what the classical version would not have permitted.
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