New Restaurant Review: Chai Corner in Croydon

By tikichris Last edited 89 months ago
New Restaurant Review: Chai Corner in Croydon

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Photography by Chris Osburn

As highlighted in our recently London Entrepreneurs interview, Neelofar Khan is a busy woman. Adding to her Chilli Chutney portfolio of Halal Lahori restos, she's now opened a new eatery in the basement of the iconic Allders department store in Croydon.

According to Neelofar, the new establishment, named Chai Corner, “promises an exotic haven where we invite guests to come and experience the aromatic sensations from the lush tea gardens of the mystic East at the same time as sampling our delicious family-favourite food on offer.”

As seldom as we make south to Croydon, we're still not sure Chai Corner qualifies as exotic. Nevertheless with its décor suggesting a sub-continent tea garden and huge murals showing tea leaf pickers at work, it's a pleasant enough spot to rest one's shopping weary feet and grab a bite or cuppa.

Offering an eclectic menu that's one part authentic Asian cuisine such as chicken achaari curry with biryani rice and one part comfort food standards such as fish and chips and English breakfasts along with a selection of sandwiches, baguettes, panini and afternoon tea with an Eastern twist, it's a something for everyone kinda place. We very much enjoyed the chicken achaari and had a bit of difficulty deciding which of CC's 14 teas to choose. Going with an Asian fusion tea with cloves and cinnamon and were glad for it. Prices were cheap (under a fiver for a curry), portions were generous and staff were helpful and friendly.

Haute Cuisine it's not. But if you find yourself in or around Allders and in need of a break, Chai Corner is a brilliantly comfortable restaurant to keep in mind.

Chai Corner is located at 2 North End in the basement of Allders in Croydon CR9 1SB.

Last Updated 21 September 2010

The Value Police

Don't eat here if you want quick service and value for money. I only get an hour for lunch and today I chose to spend it with my wife at Chai Corner. We decided to chose the set menu of Tandoori chicken, salad and a hot drink. For the hot drinks we had a coffee which was like water and a cinnamon tea which again was half drank.
The meal took about 20 minutes to arrive as the staff bumbled around the counter, when it did arrive we had what only could be described as an piece of anorexic chicken and a few pieces of lettuce garnished with a sliced piece of raw carrot to which they charged £6.50. They couldn't even give us some dressing for the salad.

The quantity they tried to give us was quite frankly embarrassing.

We had to argue with a rather irritating woman who only gave us part of our money back.

Now lunch is over I'm still hungry and £7 worse off - brilliant!

tikichris

Uh oh! Thanks for sharing your experience - luckily ours wasn't like that. Anyone else have a take on this place?

Peter_j

I have to admit that Chai Corner without a shade of the doubt has to be the worst place I've attempted to eat in London. On Saturday afternoon my wife and I were at a marketing course in Croydon and had only a limited time to grab some food in between the sessions. We didn't want to go for "the usuals" like Starbucks, Pret, etc. Instead we were just wondering around the high street looking for something more hearty on a gloomy afternoon. The "all day breakfast" was a sign I was looking for and the one we spotted in Chai Corner.
we should have got a hint seeing that place deserted with only good, old lady chatting to her imaginative friend. But I guesscwhen you are hungry your brain gives in to your stomach. So all day breakfast to me and a simple bowl of chips formy loved one.
When I got my food I could just about tolerate the look of it but when my wife got a bowl of chips wecdecided to leave without even asking for our money back. The chips that looked a little older than the lady around the corner were soaked with oil. They also smelledcof onion rings, which must have been fried at the same substance at least a week before.
My plate looked as old and tragic as Lenin in his Mousoleum. Beans were like his hear - random and thinly spread around the plate. Sausage was...well I guess just like the one that Lenin had back in 1910's. And bakon - well, that animal must have walked around when dinosaurs walked around this planet. So Starbucks it was.
My suggestion - avoid Chai Corner by all all means.