By Ellis Garamszegi
When Britons contemplate healthy eating, going out for “an Indian” perhaps isn’t at the forefront of their minds. But, perhaps it should be particularly when the restaurant in question is owned by two doctors! Dr. Ajit Kandoran and Dr. Latheesh Kottilil launched the Cardiff-based Chai street brand in 2016, with the Cardiff Bay restaurant being the latest addition.You may have seen or even been lucky enough to have eaten at one the other locations –the high street (near the arcades), Roath, or maybe even the Canton branch. If so, you’ll know the food is simply amazing. What makes Chai street unique and special is the experience; the focus is on informal café-restaurant dining and India’s traditional street foods, but the doctors concern for dietary health is still at the forefront of their plans.
The 4th restaurant opening down at the bay coincides with a new initiative the doctor-owners have launched; ‘a Food that Loves You campaign’. They have carefully scrutinised menus, along with their highly trained staff, to bring you their healthiest ever food and drink selections. I was astonished to see a menu that catered for such a diverse range of dietary requirements. Whether you’re simply someone trying to eat well or have more niche requirements, everyone is catered for. There were plant-based options, keto (a low carb and higher fat diet) options, even meals for those following a Warrior diet (where you eat one large meal per day, with intermittent fasting) It is clear their nutritional prowess has influenced the menu, which, when you consider the diverse diets and lifestyles people now lead, is pretty impressive to cater for within one restaurant. It doesn’t just stop at amazing food though; the drinks are excellent too. The health benefits are there to be drunk including Kombucha and Kefir drinks. Kombucha is a fresh, fermented tea beverage, which besides being a probiotic drink is a great source of pharmacologically active molecules that are well known to be beneficial, with several known specifically for their antioxidant properties. As someone who has drank a lot of things purely in the name of health I can honestly say both their Kombucha and Kefir drinks were by far the best tasting I’ve ever had. Additionally, there is their delicious ‘golden milk’, another drink long revered for its health benefits, as it is made with the powerful anti-inflammatory, turmeric. A wide selection of alcohol is on offer too, with a delicious house beer and even their own Indian Pale Ale.
The cocktails were incredible and also very reasonably priced for what you get. There menu even boasted a Kombucha cocktail which was delicious. As their name suggests, Chai Street is at the forefront of attempting to reverse the coffee shop juggernauts and putting tea back in its place as the nation’s favourite drink. Launching a ‘Let’s Make Tea Great Again’ campaign they offer everything from the classic British cuppa to Indian Chai Lattes and a wide selection of whole leaf teas from some of the best plantations around the world. Their ideology draws on ancient Indian dietary know-how to satisfy sweet, salty, sour, bitter and astringent taste buds whilst also leaving you feeling good with the aromas and presentation satisfying the visual and olfactory senses as well. It really is an experience. This is a place where they’ve managed to harmonize taste and health like yin and yang. The doctors added: “At Chai Street the underlying philosophy is that food and drink done properly can unleash the power inherent in the botanical treasures of the natural world – spices, herbs, superfoods, fresh seasonal produce to nourish & heal from within.” This really is a place you need to try.