Chai Walla - Bath
It was something of a revelation when I recently discovered, via my Twitter news feed, that Bath has just become home to a new Indian street food café. Established by Niraj Gadher, Chai Walla is sandwiched between Sainsbury's and Peri Peri Sizzler, looking out onto Kingsmead Square. Follow your nose to the smell of Indian spices and homemade onion bhaji's wafting out of the tiny shopfront door. You'll soon spot a queue of hungry punters waiting on wraps and curry. Chai Walla has only been open for three months, and already there are lunch-timers bypassing sandwiches from Sainsbury's, in favour of delicious freshly cooked curry, and, who can blame them!
I couldn't wait to put all the promising reviews I had read and heard about to the test, so, eagerly joined the queue one lunch time last week. I was soon eyeing up the chalk board menu. Whilst waiting, I bumped into Rob Comins, from Comins Tea House, (just a minute's walk away on Monmouth Street) who was also popping in for his takeaway lunch. Rob said in conversation that he and Niraj like to direct their customers to one another's cafe's, or, in Rob's case, tea house. What could be more delicious than a fresh falafel followed by a Japanese green tea? Certainly something to remember for next time...
It wasn't long before I was met by Sal, a fellow Bath-based blogger (for delicious home cooked recipes, head this way) and founder of 'Bath Indie Chat.' Check out this recent article from the Bath Chronicle about her amazing Twitter chat here. So into the colourful surroundings we went to pick up our picnic...
Stepping into Chai Walla, you could almost stretch out your arms and touch both walls. There was only enough room for Niraj and his menu behind the counter. Sal and I watched on in excitement as Niraj set to work, calm and composed in the kitchen.
Out came the wraps, as I ordered the 'Onion Bhaji Wrap + Samosa' (just £5), and on went the mango chutney...
Next, a heap of shredded raw cabbage, carrots, red onions and lettuce; coleslaw without the mayo.
Followed by the crowning glory of this dish; Niraj's homemade (cooked there and then) onion bhaji's. Not just one or two, but a whole handful of melt-in-the-mouth amazing bhaji's, lovingly prepared that morning at his home in Odd Down, Bath. He was proud to say that he had been taught the art of Indian cooking by his mother.
Finally, after a generous drizzle of mild and spicy dressings, Niraj rolled up the wraps ready for us to take away.
Sal and I made the most of the afternoon, taking our Indian street food to Queen Square. Sunshine? Check. Picnic blanket? Check. The best picnic in the park? Check.
My feedback? The best onion bhaji wrap I think I have ever had the pleasure of eating! The wrap was spicy, but not overpowering, and slightly sweet thanks to the crunchy salad filling and mango chutney.
The samosa? So, so good! Crunchy and caramelised and stuffed to the brim with the most wonderful filling. Truly a triumph and a very enjoyable addition to the wrap.
I think Chai Walla will become a firm favourite for Bathonian's and lovers of Indian cuisine. Just nip over on your next lunch break and you'll see what I mean! Many thanks to Niraj for our scrumptious taste of Indian street food, I can't wait to work my way through the rest of the menu!