Chai Thali is a new Street Food Indian restaurant in Camden, it was hyped up so much on Instagram and Facebook, I just had to give it a try. The food looked tantalising enough for me!
Purely cause of the images on Insta, I wanted to give it a try and see what the fuss was about. So many people have given it a 5/5 which is a bit worrying for me. They are new and have been opened for approximately 3 months. The nearest station is Mornington Crescent, Camden Town is a 7-minute walk, located on Mandela Street, in the middle of nowhere!
It’s quite spacious inside, string-like lighting, they rate themselves as the No.1 for street food…..hmmm…. we shall see about that…. The food menu is vast, a lot of veggie dishes, but then again most of the Indian places cater a lot for veggies, so that is nothing new! I instantly knew what I wanted to try so ordered: Paani Poori, Samosa Chaat, Chilli Paneer, Lamb ki Chaampe and Maharaja Prawns. For drinks, I got the Spiced Mojito – Captain Morgan Spiced rum, Mint leaves, Lime wedges, Soda water, Star anise and Mint sprig. My first taste of the cocktail was a bit meh to tell you the truth. It was like an iced tea, not strong, it was pleasant, the added soda water complimented it.
The Paani Poori was the first to come out, they looked really nice, like proper shots.
Wheat puffs filled with masala potatoes served with sweet & sour tamarind water shots. The pooris were tiny, there was hardly any filling inside, it was merely the shell I was eating, with the so-called sweet and sour amli shot. A bit messy to eat, so I found that placing the shell in my mouth then shotting the water was the best way! Flavour wise, it was bland, so bland that I can’t even remember what it tastes like!
Next was the Samosa Chaat – Samosas on a bed of chole with yogurt, tamarind & mint chutney. Now, this was nice, broken samosa, not spicy, but can be heated up with the chilli and tamarind chutneys that they provide on the side. A good sharing portion for 2 people.
The Chilli Paneer was a generous portion by far. I’m not usually a fan of it, I don’t eat it nor do I cook it! But it was merely for tasting purposes, cheese cubes fried and tossed in a masala spice, on a bed of peppers and onions. It was ok, again nothing special lacked spice, the majority of the veggie food was bland. It was just a bit meh! Again needed the chutneys with it. The one thing I did like though was the cheese cubes were soft. Usually, they’re overcooked!
My favourite had to be the Maharaja Prawns, the hottest dish, and by far the best, packed with an abundance of spice and flavour. I can literally taste them still. King prawns marinated in a blend of spices lightly cooked in the clay oven. I really liked the charred look and they were huge!!!! With a squeeze of lemon over the top, it was so yummy! Cooked to purrrfection! “Please sirrrrr I want some moreeeeee…….”
Ok so they are known for their Lamb Ki Chaampe – Lamb chops marinated overnight in spices & cooked in the tandoor, served with mixed salad. I was really looking forward to these bad boys. Once they came out, they looked tiny…. but I gave them a go. My first bite was so hard, I nearly chipped my tooth, they were overcooked and so chewy. Also, there was no taste, I could just taste the meat once I managed to bite off a piece! So overhyped with such poor quality! The worst of the worst!
Everything on Insta looks so good, and hats off to their marketing team, over hyping themselves, so someone like me gets enticed to go! This place is for anyone who hates spice, because trust me, they seriously lack in that! If you like bland food, then sure go for it, but even nowadays, everyone knows the difference between good and bad! I’m not sure why people are hyping this place up so much, to me it just seems like they’ve been paid by them!
Service was ok, the constant hovering at first was so off-putting! But then it got better, they kept their distance.
My overall rating, a mere 3/5. In my eyes, its definitely not worth it, a meal for 2 will set you back £25 pp, which is pretty pricey in my opinion. Considering the portions aren’t big. I mean in North West London, the portions are relatively big for less than half the price! Not only do you get your monies worth, you get your bellies worth and your palates worth!
Goodbye Chai Thali, never again, and definitely not No.1 for Street Food!
(P.S. This was solely my experience, my tastebuds, yours may be different to mine, please don’t be put off in going if you really want to)