Canary Wharf is becoming quite the foodie destination, and with promise of contemporary Indian cuisine (obviously my mind immediately started thinking along the lines of my fave London restaurant, Dishoom), I hopped on the tube to check out newly opened Chai Ki.
So Dishoom and Chai Ki are both non-curryhouse Indian restaurants, but the similarities end there. The Toddy Shop bar is inspired by the coastal drinking dens of Kerala, and features a wall covered in scooter headlamps, railway luggage racks and exposed structural steels. It was buzzing on a weekday evening – always a great sign, though I was conscious that I was the only pair of jeans amongst the suits! A separate restaurant also exists within Chai Ki, with high ceilings, rich dark woods and awesome cage lights that provide a more formal setting.
A fruity, chai-spiced Lychee Teapot vodka cocktail kicked us off (craft beers also available), closely followed by an endless stream of sharing plates, inspired by owner Rohit Chugh’s childhood. A pile of Himalayan Ribs was tongue-meltingly spicy but a Must Order item. Goan Prawn Curry was fragrant and creamy, and the only actual ‘curry’ to grace our table that night. Coorgi Pulled Pork was served atop Malabar paratha flat bread, kind of like soft shell tacos in appearance – a highlight of the meal, and one I’d like to repeat asap.
Icy pistachio kulfis arrived for dessert, to cool our still-burning-from-all-the-spice tongues, plus more fresh and fruity cocktails, confirming that Chai Ki has a strong handle on the full dining and drinking experience, and is a fine excuse for breaking the central London habit and making a trip to Canary Wharf asap.
If you find you’ve overeaten, or want to prolong your Canary Wharf evening, there’s a jungle-like rooftop garden that stretches the length of the Norman Foster-designed North Dock building and is perfect for a post-dinner stroll.
Visit on a Monday for Chai Ki’s fab new Monday Mash-Up intiative, where London craft breweries (from Beavertown to Sambrooks to Wimbledon) will pair their beers with a myriad of dishes from the menu. Who knew Beavertown’s citrusy Bloody ‘Ell blood orange IPA and Chai Ki’s calamari would be such a match made in heaven?! Tickets cost £9 and include your first beer/bar plate pairing (email email@example.com or call 0207 408 7630 to book).
Mall Level -1, Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5AR
Bookings: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 408 7630