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Review: After Chai-ing a breakfast at this Deepdale eatery we have a new favourite drink

Posted on - 11th May, 2024 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Deepdale, Food & Drink, Opinion, Preston News, Restaurants in Preston, Reviews, What's On in Preston
Chaiiwala in Deepdale Road Pic: Google
Chaiiwala in Deepdale Road Pic: Google

This week my daughter Ground Zero and I stopped for an early lunch at Chaiiwala in Deepdale Road, just outside Preston city centre. Although it’s been there a while and we’d heard positive reviews, it was a first time visit for both of us.

Once inside we milled around awkwardly for a bit as it looked a little like a fast food restaurant and we didn’t know whether we were meant to sit down and wait for table service or order at the counter.

A helpful member of staff armed with menus showed us to a table, although I think diners can just sit where they like. Within reason, obviously; I have an ancient chihuahua who likes to sit on my shoulder, licking my food with his eyes and sighing boiled cabbage and bin juice breath in my face until all the joy of eating has left me. Don’t do that.

GZ pointed out that customers can scan a square pattern thingy on their phones and order easily that way. I spent a few agonising minutes trying to take a photo of the little sign before she realised that I didn’t have a suitable app on my phone and took it off me. It didn’t help that my camera kept suddenly facing the wrong way so I could see GZ’s appalled face interspersed by glimpses of my own terrified expression and rolling side eyes, like Warhorse.

She ordered Chaiiwala’s take on the classic North African meal shakshuka – described as ‘soft runny eggs in tomato and onion curry, served with flaky paratha which are perfect for dipping’, for £4.95.

Chaiiwala shakshuka
The shakshuka

Despite GZ being a big fan of curry, onions, tomato and eggs she wasn’t over keen on it, as she found the tomato in the curry to be too acidic without the sweetness that some tomato and onion dishes need to balance them out. It just wasn’t for us but the parathas were good, it was nicely presented and the eggs were runny as promised, so although it didn’t get a thumbs up from us personally, it doesn’t merit a thumbs down in general.

She also ordered a portion of pani puri, described as ‘deep fried, hollow, puffed bread served with chana mix and tamarind pani’, for £4.95.

Chaiiwala pani puri
Not the prettiest pani puri, but I haven’t got eyes in my stomach so I don’t care. Unless of course I partially absorbed my twin in the womb, which idea now has me extremely concerned and significantly less hungry

It wasn’t the prettiest looking version we’ve seen – that accolade goes to Saladishy’s pani puri – but it was delicious. The highly flavoured sweet and sour water came in a little jug which was a nice alternative to the usual method of dunking your entire puri and various body parts into a bowl and then trying to gracefully smash the whole thing into your mouth before it tries to escape down your sleeve.

I went for a Desi breakfast, which was masala omelette with masala beans and daal or chana, with a choice of rotis, parathas or toast and either karak chai or karak coffee, priced at £7.95.

Chaiiwala Desi breakfast
Desi breakfast with daal and paratha

I opted to have it with daal and two parathas. The daal was spiced and seasoned well, so I didn’t need to reach for the salt or pepper. The omelette was tasty albeit a tad rubbery, like McDonald’s eggs in texture. When unfolded it sandwiched perfectly inside the two parathas which added another small layer of satisfaction, because who wants a filling switching things up by flopping out of a sandwich like a cow’s tongue and licking your hand/face/neck? Not me.

I’d also ordered a Nutella wrap for £2.95 which sounded like a safe bet. Unfortunately, by the time I got around to eating it, it had gone cold and a bit claggy, so next time I’d override the childhood programming of finishing your main before eating a dessert and get it down me straight away, because I’m sure it would have been far better hot, and because you’re not the boss of me, Yvonne.

Chaiiwala Nutella wrap
I left my Nutella wrap to go so cold it couldn’t even feel it’s feet

GZ had a lemon iced chai to drink at £3.25, which didn’t taste as much like tea than it tasted like a strong, very sweet lemony cordial. I opted for pink chai because I’d never heard of it.

When I got home I Googled what was in it and discovered it’s a tea brewed with green tea leaves and baking soda, and then mixed with milk to give it a distinct pink colour.

Baking soda in tea was a new one for me, and if I’d read that before my visit I mightn’t have ordered it and missed a real treat, as it turned out to be a wonderfully aromatic, sweet and gently spiced drink that I’ll definitely be ordering again.

Chaiiwala is a great little place for a quick meal. Helpful and welcoming staff, spotlessly clean, an easy (allegedly) to use app for convenience and a varied menu which has something for almost every palate. It’s also possible to order meals for delivery on Just Eat, but those prices are considerably more expensive than they are when eating in.

Do you consistently disappoint and appall your children by failing utterly to keep up with new technology? Have a moan about them in the comments, they’re never going to read it.

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