Street food inspired Chai Ki flung open its doors in the new Crossrail Place development in May.
Former trader for Goldman Sachs, Rohit Chugh, opened the venue after being in the restaurant trade for more than ten years.
“There are two aspects to Chai Ki,” he said. “The toddy shop is a bar inspired by the coastal drinking dens of Kerala in Southern India. In the Toddy Shop we offer a breakfast and weekend brunch menu as well as an all day bar menu.
“The restaurant, which is due to open later this month, will be a more formal affair and we are keeping the menu under wraps for now.”
Which dish would you personally recommend?
He said: “It does keep changing and depends on the time of day. In the mornings, I’m always tempted by one of our sausage or bacon breakfast buns with a Monsoon Malabar coffee.
“If I’m not in a rush though, I’ll go for buttermilk chaas pancakes with bacon, honey and maple syrup or our Anda Bhurji, Indian style scrambled eggs with red onion and curry leaf.
“Lunch or dinner, I try to have something different every time I eat in the Toddy Shop. I excuse myself working through the menu by justifying it as quality control.”
What is your background?
He said: “I completed my MBA at London Business School and went straight into the City to work on a trading floor. After only a year there though, I knew that what I really wanted to do was to get into restaurants.
“So, much to my friends’ and family’s surprise, I quit and was fortunate enough to be recruited, in 2004, by The Cinnamon Club which I ran for a few years as well as opening Cinnamon Kitchen.
“I moved on to launch Roti Chai in 2011, which is all about sharing flavours I grew up with. For the Street Kitchen that means childhood favourites, from street sellers and ‘dhaba’ roadside cafes in India. The Dining Room menu features regional home-style specialties based on family recipes and inspired by some of India’s most famous eateries.”
Chai Ki, Crossrail Place.