Those days when you travel far and explore and land at amazing cafes are the best! We came across one such amazing place over the weekend – Chaai Centre in CBD Belapur.
Chaai Centre is located on a semi-busy street and is not difficult to locate – just follow the maps. The cafe is not very huge but spacious and inviting. There is ample parking space in front of the cafe/tea house. Hungry and in need of caffeine dose, we made our way to Chaai Centre.
Once we enter, the coffee bar/kitchen area catches our attention. As we were settling down on one of the tables in the corner, we notice a shelf packed with books and a few sayings about coffee & tea on the wall leading to the mezzanine floor. Kulhads, pretty cups, take away cups, colourful kettles and a huge variety of flavours and liqueur are arranged on the wall behind the counter. A variety of desserts and bakery items are on display at the counter. There is a vintage looking wallpaper adorning the walls.
We leave our table downstairs and make way upstairs to the mezzanine floor. The seating upstairs is equally comfortable for a little dark for a coffee shop. They have to revamp it, as was informed to us. They also have an outside seating which is definitely what we would prefer in the evenings.
All the thoughts that were going on in our minds were interrupted by the threateningly loud growls from our tummies and we jumped to the Qwik Bite section on the menu. We went for Nachos – crispy round tortilla chips, topped with a spicy salsa sauce.
Our nostrils were being treated to the amazing and heartwarming aroma of coffee being brewed and we immediately jumped to the coffee section.
The place is famous for the many varieties of tea which were recommended to us by Mr Haider Sayed, one of the owner-partners of Chaai Centre.
But us being the stubborn ‘we are coffee people’ type [which was about to be modified, if not changed], we ordered Chocolate Frappe instead.
Chocolate Frappe is a thick and chocolaty coffee drink, topped with ice cream and choco-chips, perfect to the last sip.
Mr Haider then recommended Tiramisu Coffee Chiller. I am beside myself thinking of the right words to describe this drink. A concoction where the crisp, sharp bitter taste of coffee is not lost to the tiramisu liqueur. A strong drink that makes you wince (at first), but feel strangely refreshed and excited! It makes you go back for more. This is one drink every coffee fanatic should treat oneself to!
With good coffee and the faint hustle and bustle of the coffee shop, we got comfortable and checked out the menu for more. There are sandwiches, rice bowls, wraps, salads, pizzas and more to choose from. And then we saw noodles aka Maggi.
If you see Maggi in the menu…you order it! That is the mantra we live by.
And so, a bowl of Soupy Noodles made its way to our table. Hot soupy noodles with lots of veggies….paradise! I stained my trousers at least thrice as I fought for the noodles! Perfect for the upcoming (hopefully) winters!
Indian Hottest is a spicy and loaded thin crust pizza. Lots of veggies and cheese with chilli flakes – literally made my lips burn but my hands kept reaching for more! If you love spicy, you should definitely give this one a try!
The refreshing coffee chiller we had, made us look at the beverage menu once again and that is when Tisane caught our attention. Intrigued we googled and found that Tisane is the name for Herbal Tea, a hot beverage made with a decoction of herbs, etc. and water. Now it was only water and herbs and the options were not very threatening either. How wrong could Berry Bunch go? If nothing it would be flavoured water..and that is when we tried something new for the first time. We asked for Hawaiian Paradise Tisane.
We got to smell ….? Hawaiian Paradise and I would not be exaggerating if I said I could wear it as a perfume! If fact, I remember I said that, out loud! The aroma is just mind-blowingly fruity and floral. Hibiscus, cranberry, passion fruit, etc. etc….just beautiful!
While we waited for out tea to be brewed, we got to learn a little more about the other tea options at Chaai Centre and how they make it their motto to brew the perfect cup for you!
And then arrived the much awaited Hawaiian Paradise Tisane. We were given shot glasses as it was our first time trying an herbal tea.
My stomach was fluttering with anticipation. Will I like it? Is this a mistake? Will coffee feel betrayed! Okay not the last one, but the rest, yes! I agree it is too dramatic, but one can’t help what one feels! We took in the amazing aroma as the tea was poured into the glasses.
First sip – Not a mistake, definitely not!
Second sip – With a nod to my partner in crime, I would happily drink this daily.
Third sip – Who else I am bringing here next, to try this!
And then we enjoyed the rest of the tea with a faint smile on our face. The aroma is one of the highlights of the tea and the taste is sharp. Loved it!
So happy were we, that we had Masala Chai as well, on Mr Haider’s recommendation of course. It was served in a kulhad. I have had one experience with tea and it was not good! Like really not good. …. on the other hand, claims to have tea at times. Which are these ‘times’, I am yet to see. Anyway, I was already making deals with him to finish my tea if I could not. But one sip, and I wanted more of it. I do not know how the ideal masala chai is, but it did not put me off and I actually poured myself the remaining tea as well! The Kulhad added to the experience with the earthy tone only making the…. better!
To up the ante of our meal, we next tried Demi Glace – pasta in a brown sauce. Demi-Glace is a classic French brown sauce that is richly concentrated and flavourful. The Demi Glace sauce used in our pasta was made by reducing a number of vegetables to a thick brown sauce. This is not something we have tried earlier, but will we try again? Definitely! And so must you!!
The sauce in itself was just so delicious with garlic, cilantro and veggies adding to the incredible dish. Garlic bread served with the pasta was equally toothsome! Fresh bread, crisp outer layer and so buttery! Yumm!
We also tried Peach Iced tea, which was flavorful and refreshing. The liqueur is prepared in house. The drink had a strong essence of tea and was well complimented by the peach flavour.
Overall Experience: The service is courteous and friendly. The place is pocket-friendly and the menu expanse is good enough.
The Battle: The battle you ask? I think I can’t pick one here! We fought for another bite or sip of each and everything here! Just loved the place. Strongly recommended!!