Chai Thali in Camden – Keep Calm and Curry On
Curry has long been a favourite of the British food enthusiast and with the current trend of street food it wasn’t going to be long before someone combined the two. Step up Chai Thali in Camden. Having crossed India from side to side and up and down the owners of Chai Thali have brought together old favourites and new, given them a bit of a twist and come up with a very tasty menu of Indian street foods. With a wide range of sharing plates and a good selection of craft beers I couldn’t wait to dive in.
19 Mandela Street,
Camden, London NW1 0DU
Indian street food, craft beers and awesome cocktails (try the chilli one!)
Think classic crowd-pleasers that have made a pilgrimage to India and come back transformed. Making the most of Indian herbs and spices you’ll find chilli, cumin, mint and more popping up in the most unusual (but satisfying) places. Highly recommended? Definitely try the Chai Thali Mary – Famous Grouse, Southern Comfort, Pineapple & Guava Juice, Tobacco, Chat Masala, Salt Rim Glass & Chilli garnish – it’ll blow your tastebuds off in a good way
This menu has something for everyone. The number of starters were more than your average restaurant but I think that’s the point. Order a load for everyone to share and dig in. That’s just what we did ordering 9 for the table including Punjabi Samosas, Lamb Ki Chaampe (lamb chops marinated in spices served with kachumber), Maharaja Prawns (King prawns marinated in spices and cooked in the clay oven), Murg Pahaadi Tikka (chicken cooked with a mint and coriander marinade cooked in the tandoor), Ajwaini Macchi (salmon basted with carom seeds cooked in the tandoor), Samosa Chaat (mini samosas laid flat on a bed of of chole, yogurt and chutney), Pindi Chole Kulchi (Punjabi style chickpeas cooked in gravy with Amritsari kulcha), Paapdi Chaat (crispy savoury snacks topped with potatoes, black chana drizzled with yoghurt, crunchy sev and chutneys) and finally, Bullet Wings (fried chicken wings marinated in bullet (chilli powder).
Whatever you decide to order I can highly recommend the Paani Poori – What puff balls filled with masala potatoes served with sweet and sour tamarind water shots – I haven’t tried anything like them before and they were a real favourite around the table!
As you can imagine we were pretty full by the time we came to order our mains, eyes too big for our bellies. We tried a sampling of a few mains but will need to go back for more to get a good overview. What we had we liked though. Tandoor Chicken Tikka and Daal Fry (lentils cooked dhabba style, dhabba being a roadside restaurant).
Somehow we managed to find that elusive pocket in your stomach that is reserved solely for dessert. Steadfast Kulfi makes an appearance (pistachio ice-cream) as does Gaajar Halwa (carrots slow cooked in milk topped with ice cream and pistachio nuts) not for me, sorry and Mango Mousse, yes please (flavoured with saffron & cardamom rass malai).
This place may not be in Camden Town itself but it is worth the extra few minutes to go there. The setting is colourful with banquettes and an open kitchen, the food is tantalisingly tasty and the cocktails are very good. I am pleased to have found an Indian restaurant that is not your run-of-the-mill curry house and will be back soon to do a more thorough ‘investigation’ of the mains.