City Road’s Chaiiwala is a franchise of a 21-strong chain of Indian tea shops with its origins in Leicester.
Their menu focuses on karak chai and other hot and cold drinks as well as a range of all day breakfasts, filled rotis, desserts and Indian street food. They’re open from 7.30am on weekdays and close at 11.30pm every night; handy for shift workers and those who fancy a late night breakfast.
On the Sunday lunch I visited, I bagged the last seat in the house with the majority of diners tucking away Chaiiwala’s all-day breakfasts.
|not the Sunday I visited|
A signature karak chaii was delicious (£1.70) - sweet, spicy and creamy it was a decadent cupful.
A cone of chilli paneer (£4.50) saw golden cubes of cheese coated in a sticky, mild yet spice-rich and soy-twanged sauce flecked with soft onions and peppers. It was good value for the mammoth portion making it an ideal side for two to share. But, I do like a bit more heat in my chilli paneer.
A pair of rolls were reminiscent of those on offer from the sadly departed Gina’s opposite Cardiff Castle. Dinky in size and cost, I think they were reasonable value for money.
A kebab roll (£3) comprised of a crisp and flaky paratha filled with a juicy chicken sheekh kebab and a tangy mint raitha.
A daal kati roll (£2) contained a thin layer of well-spiced and soft textured lentil curry.
In contrast, there’s no questioning the excellent value of Chaiiwala’s desi breakfasts which we ordered on a return visit. £5.50 buys you a masala omelette served with either masala beans, daal or chana and two rotis, parathas or pieces of toast. And you get a cup of karak chai thrown in too.
I plumped for the thick and spice-rich daal as well as a pair of soft textured rotis. A thin and crispy omelette was pretty good if a little spongy in texture.
Mrs G’s chana (chickpeas) was also on the money but not quite as good as the daal. A pair of parathas were enjoyably crisp and flaky.
I’ve got a lot of time for Chaiiwala’s great value breakfasts and their karak chaii is a hug in a mug. I don’t think their other lunch options are quite as well-priced or tasty but they’re still worth a look.
Address - Chaiiwala, 192 City Rd, Cardiff CF24 3JF
Web - https://www.chaiiwala.co.uk/
Telephone - 029 2199 9786