Chai Ki, Canary Wharf

So normally on a Saturday morning I'd get up late, make us all a bacon sarnie and take Baby G to his French class over by the King's Rd, if I was feeling virtuous I might go for a gentle run along the river to Putney. However this particular Saturday I had agreed to go to a spinning class with my old uni mate Shandy at Psycle. This meant getting up early, cycling to Waterloo and then getting the tube to Canary Wharf. At that time on a Saturday morning Canary Wharf resembles a cross between Blade Runner and the Omega Man. Anyway once Shandy turns up I establish I am neither in futuristic dystopia or the last man on earth and we saunter off to Psycle which is on a new development near the proposed Cross Rail terminal. I normally spin in my trainers but here you get special clip shoes and once I get used to them I spend an exhausting but exhilarating hour spinning with 40 other souls to the latest nightclub tunes! After all that effort we were in the need of a restorative breakfast. I saw that this part of Canary Wharf is not short of options there is a Breakfast Club nearby and even an outpost of the Big Easy however Shandy picks Chai Ki.

One aspect of Canary Wharf that always throws me is that shops and restaurants are not short of space. No cramming covers into a tiny space to cover an exorbitant rent. Up here the spaces are big and unless full can look very empty. Shandy tells me the Breakfast Club deliberately keep a queue going outside their nearby outpost despite have loads of room inside for all, it's all marketing! Chai Ki is big and airy and actually pretty busy but it does feel empty. We perch at a big table in the bar and wait for someone to see to us. It's one of these places with lots of staff but no one in charge so it takes a while before we get to place our order. The food here is Indian inspired with a nod towards the days of Empire. So the Full English is called the full Nashta here and is a spicier version of the traditional breakfast. I opt for the Railway omelette with spiced sausage. I love an omelette and had a similar dish on a business trip to India a few years ago, it was a mix of gooey egg and spiced filling and was a great way to start the day. This takes a while to arrive as Shandy has his Nashta on the table already it is apparent they messed up the order.

What eventually arrives is a stolid overcooked omelette with a spicy sausage on the side, talk about a let-down. It tastes alright but I was expecting something authentic especially when I subsequently find out that the investors from the excellent Roti Chai are involved with this place. Any chef worth his place should be able to cook an omelette. I wash it down with a Masala Chai which is a bit gritty and lacks the spicing of the excellent Dishoom version. All in all it feels a bit hotel restaurant in here, they certainly need to do more with the kitchen and staff but also the décor is a bit non-descript. It is busy enough in here with a good mix of families, couples and exhausted middle aged men who've been spinning but it isn't Dishoom. The bill is a perfectly reasonable £27 but I feel I could have dined better elsewhere. Having said that Shandy enjoys his full Nashta and comes here regularly. I'm going to return the fixture and get him up to Soho for a spin class at the Third Space and breakfast at Dishoom so he can see the difference.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016
Overall rating
Food 6 | Service 4 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 6

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