We recently visited Chaayos in Versova Mumbai. Then we visited it again, and again, and again. We began wondering why we were visiting this little meeting point more frequently than say, a Bru World Cafe, Cafe Coffee Day or our next door Snacks Centre.
- The Location – like many of its wisely located competitors, Chaayos too, is located in areas with a high footfall. It is located in a place which is perfect for an semi formal meeting or catching up with a friend for a quick chai.
- Novelty – While Bru World Cafe offers a wonderful variety and blends of locally sourced coffee, and a few chais too, and Cafe Coffee Day keeps reinventing their menu, there’s novelty in an All Chai place. India is still essentially a chai drinking country, and after the initial infatuation of teenagers sipping frappes at CCD in the 90s, we are all getting back to the good old chai. Inevitably so! So it is a bit of novelty and a bit of nostalgia.
- Price Wise – They are all roughly the same price wise. It costs around Rs 400 to 500 for two people. I was under the impression that Chaayos is cheaper, cause you know, its chai, but no, it isn’t cheaper. It seems cheaper somehow.
- Menu Wise – They have everything very desi, very healthy and very relatable on their menu. From Kulhad wali chai to Kaadha style to Chamomile tea. From bhajiyas to chana chaat to muffins. Something about the menu makes you feel at home. It is fresh, it is healthy, it is local. I think it is the reliability of the menu that makes you believe that this place is cheaper than other coffee shops even when its not.
- Crowd wise – While CCD reminds me of teenage couples and loud streaky girls around tables sharing a single pastry or coffee, the crowd in the Brus and Chaayos of the world is very different. In the Chaayos I visited I found the crowd to be more mature. In fact, Bru World and Chaayos have WiFi, and a very semi formal meeting kind of culture going. It is a quick chai, no involvement or whiling away time whatsoever.
- Comfort wise – The seating of Chaayos is not comfortable. I understand that they don’t want you to get too comfy because these places run on shorter turn around times, but their seating and crowded layout in the Versova outlet wants me to carry my own cushion for the narrow wooden classroom benches that barely accommodate an adults buttocks..!! Pardon my language, but the seating will not allow you to enjoy your chai comfortably for an hour.
What We Didn’t Like
The fact that you MUST enter your phone number each time you place an order, so they can send you promotional random messages every now and then.
I also did not like their seating arrangement and uncomfortable wooden benches.
I would love to go to Chaayos again. You should try it if you are more a Chai guy, or Chai gal. They do offer coffee, but the options are limited. Their menu is very fresh and desi, so perhaps the healthier pick when compared with the many a, often stale smelling bakery items from some of the coffee shops we have mentioned above. They make you chana chaat and fry your bhajiyas in front of you, which makes me find it safer to eat than the stuff in which I have no idea what ingredients might have gone.
Anyway, do try it out and tell us if you agree or disagree with out opinion about Chaayos.