Chai Pani: Decatur, GA, USA
A few friends and I went here as part of our monthly eats. I had heard good things about this place from various people, some Indian, some not. When I say Indian, this is in reference to the East Asian country of India. This place is a bit of a drive, but anywhere in downtown Decatur is a haul for where I live. Boasting classical Bombay small plates, they recommend ordering a few “appetizers” and sharing them as a meal. My friend and I did order an entree to share though which was pretty good in and of itself. Total things eaten that night include:
- saag paneer: goat cheese cubes in a spinach cream sauce (entree)
- kale fries
- okra fries
- sev potato dahi puri: a puff cracker that is filled with vegetables and sauces, typically tamarind
- definitely worthy of an entree in terms of quantity: naan and a large chip, as well as rice make up the carb portion
- good flavors for the saag: plenty of cheese cubes, not overwhelmingly salty, not overwhelmingly creamy
- side of yoghurt is great to go with the cubes of cheese
- vegetables come in the form of garbanzo beans: not undercooked which is great because these can be somewhat mushy
- even comes with a small dessert, very buttery but not overly sweet
- can be too filling for just one person if other appetizers are on the table but nothing really other than that
- a lot of kale! and fried!
- best way to get a kid to eat kale: we had a 5-yr-old who did not eat anything green. He ate those kale chips.
- not bitter (which is typical of kale)
- served with mint chutney and yoghurt, very complementary
- too much batter, especially for those who like kale
- super great texture, definitely fry-like: not soggy from being soaked in oil
- crispy and not overly salty
- no sliminess that normally comes out from okra that is boiled.
- 5-year-old ate this too.
- taste more of the okra compared to fried okra which is dipped in batter.
Sev Potato Dahi Puri: chickpea noodles and cilantro top a yoghurt slathered puff filled with potatoes, vegetables, and chutneys.
- fantastic flavors: it’s like an Indian taco exploded in my mouth. Apparently we are supposed to eat this in one bite. First of all, you need a really big mouth to even fit in one piece. Second, when you can bite down, everything just comes together really well.
- very filling: they really pack each puff to the brim as pictures show
- shareable, especially for two to three diners
I had a really great time eating here at Chai Pani. All in all a quick summary is as follows:
- saag paneer: ***.85 (3.85 stars)
- kale fries: ***.75 (3.75 stars)
- okra fries: ***.75 (3.75 stars)
- sev potato dahi puri: ***.85 (3.85 stars)
I would definitely come back to Chai Pani. There were so many other dishes that I wanted to try, especially from the street food section. One of the drinks that I had was also the nimbu pani – it’s lime juice with a dash of salt and simple syrup. It’s the closest thing that I could come to that resembled the lime juice I find back on shaved ice in Singapore. You can find them here:
406 W. Ponce de Leon Ave, Decatur, GA
One of my Indian friends did say it wasn’t up to her taste. It’s hard for me to say because I’m not Indian. However, I’d still like to go back even if it’s considered “fusion” Indian. Hopefully one day I can actually get to go to India and see what the real things taste like! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are ready for Christmas. It’s just around the corner!
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