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.