A new vegetarian only bistro will bring authentic Indian street food to Chester when it opens in the next few days.
Chai St in Brook Street is the brainchild of partners Bob Gohill and Sandeep Jarjapu, who run the nearby Chester Spice Market among other businesses.
Both share an Indian background.
Back in the sub-continent vegetarian street food is common-place – think less traditional curry and rice and more savoury snacks eaten with Indian flatbreads or alternatively stuffed pancakes called dosas.
In India it is sometimes felt the taste of street food is better than cuisine in the upmarket restaurants of the big cities.
The Chai St kitchen will be run by a real Indian chef, who hails from Calcutta, but has experience working in Scandinavia, Denmark and Holland.
Sandeep says there is a dearth of vegetarian restaurants in Chester so it is hoped Chai St will ‘fill the gap in the market’. He says the idea behind the business actually came from a customer. Sandeep says vegetarian food is not only tasty but also healthy.
The Brook Street location, within a former Afro-Caribbean food store, could not be more fitting for a street food eatery given the hustle and bustle of the up-and-coming area which is alive to the sights, sounds and smells of cuisine from around the world.
Bob, whose wife Ann run’s Ann’s newagents in Hoole , is looking forward to opening what will be his first restaurant venture. He plans to adorn the walls with pictures of Bollywood movie stars to create the genuine Indian ambience.
The pair are also applying for a liquor licence, with a fairly extensive wine list planned. In the meantime there will be range of soft drinks including yoghurt drinks such as mango lassi.
One of the dishes expected to prove popular is vegetable thali platter, served on a steel tray, for sharing by two people, priced around £19.90, featuring two somasos, four vegetable dishes and lentils with yoghurt and puri/chapati breads, achar pickle and steamed rice.
A range of Indian desserts will be on the menu, made fresh on the premises, from milk and even carrot. It is hoped the bistro will eventually offer food to take-away as well.