I have properly fallen out with Indian takeaways of late. I have tried so many and every time they arrive late, the food is bland, greasy or cold. The curry houses I love don’t deliver so I am about to call it quits with trying to eat good curries at home.
There is more to Indian food than curry however, as much as I will miss my chicken tikka masala and garlic naan there is still space in my heart from something punchy with plenty of spice and sweetness. Thank goodness for Chaiwalla who have opened their second spot on Stokes Croft following their sister restaurant in Bath
Their success lies in simplicity. It’s a small shop, there are few options, all of them are veggie or vegan and around £5. They have decorated with beautiful, colourful East Asian fabrics and reclaimed wood making the place warm and inviting. The music is pumping but not too loud and equally colourful regulars stop in for a chat. There is limited seating, literally two chairs and makeshift “sofa” so this really is somewhere to pop in and takeaway if there are more than two people in there. Perfect for someone who is heading home, hungry, and misses a good, Indian feed.
I went for the onion bhaji wrap and samosa, other options were a hot chaat box, a substantial portion of chickpeas, tamarind and onion curry served with a topping of fried noodles, salad and yogurt dressing. The wrap is a flat bread that is stuffed to bursting with fresh salad, that included carrot, red cabbage and pomegranate seeds, 6 freshly fried onion bhaji’s and a sweet mango chutney which is then rolled into a tinfoil tube for you to eat on the hoof or pack safely away for later. The samosa was beautifully spiced with a crispy pastry and plenty of potato, pea and spice filling meaning tons of flavour inside. Absolutely what you want instead of a greasy, flaccid triangle like those I have been served elsewhere.
Chaiwalla is definitely on my rotation now and an absolute testament to doing vegan and vegetarian food well. I didn’t miss the meat and will most certainly will be back.