Chai Nashta 4/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 3.5/5
VENUE & ATMOSPHERE: 3/5
Note: Alcohol is not served on the premises. All meat is halal.
As good as the pasta and pizza was in Venice, I was starting to smell seafood and see pasta in my sleep. Before I woke up trying to catch mushrooms like Super Mario, I needed a fix of some familiar food. We also wanted to make the most of our last day off before reality kicked in, so it was a perfect time to knock another meal off the food bucket list: Chai Nashta!
Before I move on to the review, it’s worth noting that if you aren’t a Forest Gate resident (or you don’t have access to your nan’s blue badge), then prepare yourself for an almighty struggle to find a parking spot, as most of the surrounding area to Chai Nashta is resident permits only 6 days a week. However, little did I know that after locating a legit parking spot (and patching my wounds up from banging my head against the steering wheel), my day was about to get a whole lot better.
Chai Nashta is a cosy little place with simple yet sufficient decor, with a Nando’s style system of approaching the till to order and pay. I quite like that as it means I get the painful bit of paying out the way before being free to relax, knowing I won’t be delayed waiting for the bill amidst a food coma and when eager to make tracks.
The menu was basic, yet captured everything you would be interested in ordering for a desi brunch, and although they had options for lunch, it would would have been good to see some authentic Gujarati lunch options. Most dishes started with a basic masala egg base (scrambled or omelette) and then a varying degree of add ons. We chose the omelette with bataka ni fri (sliced and fried potato’s for you non gujis) and lamb keema along with a portion of poori’s.
The good thing about going as a family is the ability to snack off other peoples plates, which meant I was also able to try the scrambled egg, sample a few bites of the sausage and egg burger, as well as tuck into some masala fries. I have to say each item tasted great. The omelette was tasty with the right spice level and the keema and bataka ni fri tasted delicious and authentic. The poori’s were not oily which made me feel better about eating something I knew couldn’t be all that kind on my arteries, and due to the the addictive nature of the masala chips, they were gone within seconds. To top it off, the masala coffee (I can’t apologise for not being a tea lover) was sweet and spicy, and took me right back to my childhood where, once in a blue moon, we would have guests round from India and mum would pull out the pot to make indian coffee. The difference this time was I didn’t have to wait until the guests left before indulging in the leftovers. As a mater of fact, it was so good that I greedily ordered another (now you know why I wasn’t allowed to eat and drink with guests). The feedback from the others was that the masala tea was equally as good.
In terms of service, given the place was empty, it was a little disappointing to watch my family members eat whilst I eagerly awaited my own meal – however, it wasn’t the end of the world, as in the meantime I just ate off everyone else’s plates. Value for money was decent, with a ‘Desi Nashta’ coming to around £8 including the tea, with portion sizes large enough to keep me content. Overall, Chai Nashta is well worth a visit and gives a true flavour of Gujarat – the only thing that could make this experience more authentic (and easier) is the ability to park wherever the hell you want – just like in India!
Address: 90 Upton Lane, E7 9LW
Phone: 020 8552 2421