After bringing world cuisine to the city’s palate, restaurateur Farhan Azmi has now gone back to his roots with his new enterprise – a cafe that will serve local favourites with light grub. Called Chai, Coffi, the joint will replace Andheri’s famous Yari Road Barista coffee shop.
“Whenever I travelled, I always saw tea on the menu in most restaurants, but a lot of places in the city, including Basilico, have sidelined something that matches Indian hospitality so much,” says Azmi, whose wife, Ayesha Takia was the one who helped push the concept. “There will be no main course, but we will serve all those things that come along with tea and coffee, with some additions.”
The food items will include Irani brun maska (buttered bun), toasts, whole-wheat khari, low-fat naan khatai, dal khichdi to go with the tea; and for the coffee, cookies, whole- wheat pizzas, served by the slice and croissants among other things. The cafe will also stack desi mithai such as gulab jamuns.
Azmi hopes for Chai, Coffi to match the popularity of the international coffee chain Starbucks, and make ‘tea and coffee’ popular among the youth again. “We want to make it a hang-out joint, where people can come and spend hours,” says the entrepreneur who currently owns a chain of restaurants like Koyla and Basilico.
Although why coffee is spelt with a twist is something we didn’t quite get. “We’re looking at creating a new way of writing coffee,” says he, in humour. “Spellings don’t really matter any more anyway, texting has changed a lot.”
Located right next to the sea, Chai, Coffi is due to open around mid-January next year. Asked whether another outlet is in the pipeline for the rest of the city, Azmi says, “Around April a franchise outlet will open next to the Basilico in Colaba.”