Address: 15/4, 4th Main Road,1st Floor, Elliot’s Promenade, Besant Nagar, Chennai, India
Time: 8 AM to 11 PM
Meals for two: Rs. 350
Cuisines: Cafe, Street Food, Indian, Italian
Facilities: Vegetarian Only, No Alcohol Available, Wifi
Chai Galli, Besant Nagar, Chennai: DECOR
On weekends, Besant Nagar is pulsating with activity. Everywhere I look, eating places beckon me. Ground floor, first floor, take-away places, burger joints… the works.
Inside a packed Chai Galli, I see the golden glow of wood. Grey-black and striking, a large mural covers one wall. It has a chai walla with tea pouring out of a kettle across the entire wall. Right opposite, a glasspaned side overlooks the road. This is where I sit, on a wooden-armed, metal-and-plastic office chair from the 70s that rocks back and forth. Never sideways or around. From my vantage point, I can spare a glance at where my car is parked. Other seating includes the fold-able metal chairs and plain wooden chair with no armrest. Opposite me, the wall is decorated with posters from Bollywood: Mother India, Don, Umrao Jaan, etc.
Chai Galli, Besant Nagar, Chennai: FOOD
On my table, a nice, fat, colorful teapot holds all the cutlery I will need. A Cutting Chai glass appears along with a kettle of Adhrak Chai and of all things, a tiny packet of Parle Glucose Biscuits. Good heavens! I think as I dunk my biscuit into the chai, and it promptly plonks right in, because I was busy looking at the Khamani half orb on a Kakhra. Crumbled yellow Dhokla, crumbled into a coarse, moist powder, it has to be eaten with the crisp, flat Kakhra. I love its coarse moistness and the slight sour-sweetness of the Kokum.
Going further down Kakhra lane, the double-layered Kakhra-based pizza is different, because the base is crisper, but otherwise is all that one expects from a pizza.
Huge, round and total Punjab style, the hot Aloo Paratha is stuffed to perfection. Topped with white butter and served with curds, this is a delight to eat. Not even a patch of clumpy dough mars the parantha-with-butter experience.
Still have space for dessert? I know I do. Nobody can quite resist the Chai Galli Special Falooda. Pretty to look at, it comes in a glass fully loaded with fruits, cream, milk and falooda. A long spoon helps me get to the bottom of things. This is one indulgence I would have regretted refusing.
Chai Galli, Besant Nagar, Chennai: PLUS AND MINUS
Definitely something different for this side of town, it has a good mix of food.