Whether it’s cutting chai at a tapri, or a cup of hot ginger tea at a sophisticated cafe in a hotel, tea is a beverage that is known and loved by all, so much so that you can also term it as an addiction. Revolving around this conventional concept is Chai, a small cafe that runs at three locations in Pune, namely Koregaon Park, Viman Nagar and Salunkhe Vihar Road. Rightly so, it is also named after the beverage itself; who said you need big words to be creative, right?
I happened to visit the outlet in Koregaon Park last Sunday with a bunch of friends and the simplicity of the place turned out to be quite appealing. A vintage and funky, blue, red and yellow window nailed into a bamboo wall welcomes you as soon as you enter, with cute tables that have tiled surfaces. With the grass below your feet, it’s a cute spot to sit and relax in the open but since it was a hot day, we decided to get a table upstairs in the air-conditioned section.
You might never get to see our Thalaiva, Rajnikant smile right at you or Michael Jackson pouring you a cup of chai from a steel kettle, but here at Chai you will, with the fun caricatures put up on the walls! It’s quite a sight and the art is worth an appreciation. Other walls on the first floor have fun stuff put up too, and you can go get yourself seated on the low tables once you are done admiring all of it.
If you were among those who spent hours together at Cafe Indulge in Kalyani Nagar, which was a favourite among college students back then, but has unfortunately shut down, you have something to smile about, since Chai pretty much manages to give you the same feel. With card games such as Uno and board games such as Snakes & Ladders (yes, they’re going back to basics!), Chai is a place where you can easily spend hours together with a bunch of friends or cousins, if you have nothing else to do.
Treat yourself to a bowl of Desi Maggi when you win a game! That was the best thing that I had there. Cooked desi style, with curry leaves and ‘tadka’, it was quite interesting (and yes, it was Yippie for the time being). We also had the Mushroom Sandwich, which was nice. I had a Chocolate Banana Shake, which tasted mostly like banana but I liked it nonetheless. For snacks, you can choose from the variety of options they have in pastas, sandwiches, eggs, fries and also beverages. Having them to munch on while you play endless number of games of Uno makes it the best part!
A tapri cutting chai costs six bucks, but spending fifty bucks for a cup once in a while, to avail all the fun it comes with at Chai is totally worth it!