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World's first Chai Bazaar opens in London

With a star-studded launch at London's Chor Bizarre restaurant, Chai Bazaar is set to be one of the hottest new venues.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2003 22:19 IST
UK Bureau
UK Bureau

The Tea Board of India has planned to open 25 chaibazaars in Britain by 2005. In a country where drinking tea is almost a religion, and slogans like "Make Tea Not War" make perfect sense to the people, the move to introduce Indian tea houses is certainly a smart decision. Did the author George Orwell not say: Real tea is nothing but an Indian cup of tea! This is a slogan one often hears in rural England as well.

At London's well-known Chor Bizarre restaurant in Mayfair, London, the first Chai Bazaar in the world, not to say London's, was opened in the presence of "elite tea lovers" including Raza Jaffrey and Preeya Kalidas, the stars of Bombay Dreams, by Indian High Commissioner Ronen Sen.

The famous actress and writer Meera Syal started the proceedings rather aptly, reading from George Orwell's famous essay - Eleven Steps to Preparing a Nice Cup of Tea.

In true Meera Syal style, she narrated how her grandfather drank tea from the saucer, makingloud slurping sounds. Her description of the little ceremony had the audience in splits.

Chai Bazaar is set to be one of the hottest new venues on the city's social scene. Rekindling the art of making the perfect cuppa, the tea bar promises the ultimate tea-drinking experience.

During Monday's launch, a delectable choice of quality teas and designer tea cuppas were offered. There was exceptionally tasty lemon-ice tea and a special concoction of wine and tea.

Most invitees were thrilled to drink tea in the good old mud cups - kulhars they are called in India. One used to get piping hot tea in them at the railway stations in India in the good old days and it brought a rush of memories to see the kulhar back in one of London's most upmarket restaurant. The kulhars have been especially imported from India for the purpose.

Accompanying the tea were delicious Indian savouries, created by Chor Bizzare's inventive chefs to go with various types of tea.

In a brief talk, the director of Tea Board of India, Jagmohan Raju related how he wooed his wife over a constant stream of cups of tea - good tip for the singles in the assemblage!

Managing director of Chor Bizarre Rohit Khattar was a happy man to see the tea being sold at reasonable prices and the idea warming its way into people's mind and hearts. Next time if your palate is thirsting for a good cup of tea - you know where to go.

Khattar has made a mission for innovative forays into gourmet's palate, starting with adorning his restaurants with chor bazaar artefacts.

He and the Tea Board are now taking the idea to Paris, where the Chai Bazaar will open at the legendary hotel Ritz.

First Published: Dec 27, 2003 22:19 IST