The Story of Chai

They say smell transports you back to a place, a moment or a time.  And I believe that taste does too.  Last week, I was transported back to my host family’s dining room table in Nepal, I was transported back to a tea hut in Bodh Gaya and I was transported back to train journeys around Northern India.  Really, I was sat in an Indian restuarant in London for my birthday.


I had heard of Dishoom from so many people, I had also heard of it because every time I walked past, there was a huge queue snaking from the entrance. So, when is a better time to go to this popular restuarant than for my birthday? Especially because Indian food is one of my favourites.  So, I booked in advance (for a big group you must book in advance) and we were lead downstairs to a booth for the six of us.  The atmosphere was buzzing, the lighting was perfect and the smells from the kitchen were beautiful.

But first, chai!  The chai menu was the biggest selcetion I’d seen but I settled with the house chai to begin, and was instantly transported back to my trip to India and Nepal in 2008.  Before this and despite being English, I’d never drunk a cup of tea before heading to Nepal but chai was a different story; the warmth, the hint of spice, the milkiness.  Chai was the first thing we drank in the morning, it was the drink that we were given whenever we visited somebody’s house and it was what we stopped for when on journeys.DSC03727DSC03726DSC03715 DSC03716DSC03718 DSC03719 DSC03720And to finish, because I had to try more than one; the chocolate chai.  It had the same spiced kick as the house chai but with a hint of chocolate too.  The perfect way to end the meal.  It just means I’ll have to go back to try the others from the menu 🙂DSC03731DSC03734 DSC03735

But of course, the meal isn’t just about the drinks.  The food was amazing, it was real Indian food.  We ordered sharing plates and got stuck in.DSC03721Now I can’t wait to go back again!

Which tastes transport you back?

Marcella xx


24 thoughts on “The Story of Chai

  1. I think I’m more of a smell person – smells can transport me instantly. It can be kind of overwhelming sometimes, but I love scent memories. They’re so primal. I loved this post, thanks for sharing! And happy belated birthday! Looks like the perfect way to celebrate.

    • Totally agree, there is one suncream I use and every time I apply it, it takes me back to Nepal too as it’s the first place I used it. It amazes me how our brains can pinpoint the smells to memories, pretty clever!

  2. Yay for Dishoom! I love that place 🙂 I’ve actually only somewhat recently been for dinner, which I really enjoyed. That’s because I usually go for breakfast! I love having the chai, and one of their breakfast naan sandwiches. Next time give it a try in the morning (it also seems to be less crowded then)!

  3. I feel this way about a lot of food! There’s a Korean restaurant across the street from where I work, and sometimes when I catch whiffs of it I’m instantly transported back to Korea! And a good cappuccino always makes me think of Italy 🙂

  4. You know what I’ve only recently discovered chai and I loved it right away! I think I had been a bit afraid of it cause I had only heard of Chai lattes, etc. and I don’t do coffee lol. But I was going to say when I saw on that menu, I would have loved to taste that chocolate chai and then your photo appeared! It looks amazing! And so did the food. Happy belated birthday 🙂

    • What a great discovery chai is 😉 I don’t like coffee either but despite the name, chai lattes are just milky chai and don’t contain coffee (all of the ones I have had anyway!) Thanks for the birthday wishes, it was great! 😀

  5. Taste transports me back too! I’ve never been great at picking up on smells, lol. Mmmm chai! I fell in love with chai in Singapore, actually! Because there’s a huge Indian population there, so we went out for Indian food a lot. I’ve nevernhad chocolate chai though and it sounds DELICIOUS!!! I must find some!

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