lunch at 100 chai street, marlborough

OK, it’s official. I have found one of my new favourite haunts. During a recent day trip to Marlborough, the gorgeous and quaint, yet high-brow market town in Wultshire, we were wandering down the main high street. Packed with plenty of pubs and small local shops, it’s great for quiet day out. One tip – take a look in the windows of the many estate agencies. There are some seriously stunning properties available in the area, and let’s face it, out of a lot of our price ranges! No harm in looking though!

As usual, I was hungry (shocker!) so as we strolled, we were checking out the restaurants. Rick Stein’s place stands out, but we decided to wait and see if we could find anywhere else. I’m not a great lover of seafood, and I didn’t fancy pub grub. Suddenly, we came across 100 Chai Street. With its bright blue front and yellow interior, it is certainly eye-catching.

They have a big blackboard up outside featuring the short but flavour-packed menu. The only way to describe 100 Chai Street is an Indian tearoom-come-street food vendor – offering a unique take on British classics, such as Full Englishtaani Breakfast and Amritsari Cod and Masala Fries, plus Indian staples.

I love Indian food, and the choices were so intriguing, there was no way that we could just walk past. As soon as we walked in, we were greeted warmly and sat down. The manager was extremely chatty and keen to share details of the menu and his dishes with us. He even guessed my drink order before I said it! I opted for a fresh lemonade named after Bollywood cartoon character Rajni Nimbupani, blended with mint, sugar and a slight hint of coconut. It was so refreshing – I want to know the recipe so that I can make some at home!

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I think I had pretty much made my mind up on my order approximately 10 seconds after receiving the menu. I know that as a food blogger, I should be willing to order different dishes every time I eat out. However! I know Indian food, and I certainly know what I like – and would you believe it, they had my favourite starter on the menu!

This is the Aloo Tikki Chaat, a dish consisting of spiced potato cakes on a bed of chole/chana curry. This is probably the nicest Aloo Tikki I’ve ever had – the perfect amount of heat, and beautifully presented without being too fussed with. This is a street food dish and rightfully should look like one – after all, chaat does refer to a snack commonly bought from a street vendor.

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Mr Greedy and I were both immediately drawn to the Chicken Thali for our main course. Notice how I didn’t tell you what he ordered for a starter? He was being good and holding out for the main event, especially as it was only lunchtime. I, however, was living up to my greedy girl name and could not resist!

The thali was gorgeous. Having eaten plenty of thalis at Indian restaurants, I’m used to being served 3 different curries using the same meat, and was a little nervous that this meal would be a little too heavy so early in the day. I couldn’t have been more wrong – this dish was fantastic, and offered plenty of variety without stuffing me to the point of combustion! We were served a lovely chicken curry, not as spicy as I would normally order but very buttery in flavour and great for that time of day, plus a paratha (a bonus for me as this is one of my favourite Indian breads!), chana masala, raita and a large portion of rice to share. The chicken was deliciously tender, the bread was hot with a slightly sweet flavour – cold bread at Indian restaurants is a real bugbear of mine – and the fresh raita was unbeatable.

Side note: Check out the right handside of the below photo – I cannot remember what these are called, but we each had a small serving of deep fried, crispy goodies. They didn’t have a lot of flavour, but this made them even better for dunking into that gorgeous curry sauce – they soak in all of the tastiness and also provide another texture.

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If I had been hungry enough for dessert, I would have been extremely tempted by the Garam Masala Scones with mango chutney and cardamom cream. How amazing do they sound?! The couple behind me were enjoying some and all I could hear were “mmm” noises. There were plenty of other delicious-sounding desserts, including Chai Street Brownies and Mango and Cardamom Saffron Kulfi to tantalise you.

If you are ever in the area, make sure you pay 100 Chai Street a visit. If there is anything you are unsure on, the kind and friendly manager will happily tell you about the drinks and dishes they offer and make suggestions. The food was fantastic, and we were more than happy with the price – we paid £38 for 2 and left as very satisfied customers. It’s fantastic to see such a unique business thriving in such an unconventional setting. Thanks for having us 100 Chai Street – we’ll be back!

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