Tag Archives: Decatur

Chai Pani, First Impressions

We finally got a chance to try out a newish restaurant in downtown Decatur called Chai Pani. It is advertised as Indian street food. The first time N and I tried to go there was a Friday night at around 8:30pm and the wait was 45 minutes! So we passed on it and decided to go Saturday around 12:30pm and there was no wait at all.

Parking is a pain here because it shares a parking lot with another restaurant and a dry cleaner, so I recommend walking or biking if possible.

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The inside is very open, colorful and bright. There are a lot of BIG windows that let in natural light.

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The complete menu can be found online here. There are several items on the menu that we had never heard of before. The menu designates vegan items with a “V”.  Yay!

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We weren’t terribly hungry so we just got a few smaller dishes, focusing on items that we had never heard of before.

The exception were the samosas, but we were curious as to how their version tasted. It was delicious. I even ate all those raw onions after dredging them through that tangy tamarind chutney!

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Menu description: Savory, flaky pastry stuffed with spicy cumin scented potatoes. Dressed with tamarind and green chutneys.

We also had the Bhel Puri because they called it an “Indian street food classic” on the menu.  It was good and just as the menu described…tangy, crunchy spice with a little bit of sweet too! N described it as “like eating Indian style rice crispies cereal”.

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Menu description:Tangy, crunchy, spice- an Indian street food classic. Puffed rice, flour crisps, crunchy chickpea noodles, cilantro and onions tossed with tamarind and green chutneys.

I also wanted to try the Corn Bhel, which seemed similar to the Bhel Puri but with fresher ingredients like corn, tomatoes and cucumbers…but they were out 😦

Finally we tried the Masala Fries.  These just tasted like regular fries to me with cilantro. I was hoping for more of a strong masala curry taste.

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Menu description:handcut shoe string potato fries flecked with cilantro tossed with seasoning and salt. Served with tomato chutney.

Overall, the food was tasty as evidenced by our clean plates.  I’d have to say that the samosas were my favorite.

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Service was good, though we did have to wait a little while for our bill. We’d probably eat there again in order to try some other things on the menu (like their crepes/dosas and sambar) and to get the samosas! I just wouldn’t go during a busy time because I don’t think its worth waiting 45 minutes for.

Sunday quiche

Started the day off with a quick tofu quiche full of red bell peppers, onions, tomatoes and mushrooms loosely based on a recipe from VegWeb. The picture makes it look dry, but really the top of the quiche just turned a nice, light golden color and the inside was *very* moist and delicious. The key ingredient was some vegan parmesan cheese. I also tossed in some nutritional yeast for fun. There’s more, click here!

It was just the sustenance we needed for a hot and sweaty bike ride to Decatur where we visited “Decatur CD” and “Indie Coffee and Books” and also refueled for the bike ride home with vegan smoothies (mine had raspberries, bananas and lime juice and Hsauce’s had pineapple, mango, peaches, and bananas).