Having both grown up in India, Apoorv and Gauri sorely missed the comfort of good, unadulterated chai when they moved to Australia. Nostalgia soon gave birth to a passion to bring an authentic street-side chai experience to Melbourne. To help recreate the atmosphere of the chai stalls in India, the pair have even imported a cart all the way from India. They source their tea leaves from Assam and combine it with their spice mix, following their mothers’ recipe to create a wonderful cup of natural, wholesome chai, just like back at home.
Patrons can even buy a kullad to have their chai in instead of a regular paper cup. Gauri explained that in India these clay cups are unfired so that they can be smashed on the ground afterwards – no need for a recycling bin! I probably wouldn’t recommend doing that in a typical Melbourne street though; re-purposing these hand-made pieces might be a better idea.
To go with their chai, they also offer home-made treats such as laddu (made by Gauri herself), cumin cookies and roasted spiced chickpeas. Today’s laddu selection included amaranth & palm sugar, cardamom and coconut and date, almond & pistachio. The laddu were quite sweet, but a good energy booster, whilst the buttery cumin cookies were crumbly, slightly sweet, slightly salty and a great accompaniment to tea.
Today they also had live Sitar and Tabla music producing a wonderful ambience and a pleasant space in which to enjoy a nice cup of tea. There was some lovely warm weather today too (well, lovely apart from the blustering winds which were wreaking havoc on nearby stall displays) so they also had some iced chai on hand.
After running the stall by hiring temporary spaces all over the market, the Original Chai Stall now have a permanent home in the I shed together with the organic produce. As a further expression of their commitment to share a piece of India with us, Original Chai Stall also do catering. Packages of tea leaves and spice mix can be purchased if you wish to make it at home, though of course, you’d be missing out on the full experience. Apoorv and Gauri’s dedication to this project really shows – whether you just want to quickly pick up a good cup of chai, or sit and truly appreciate the flavours of the brew whilst being temporarily transported to India, Original Chai Stall have you covered!
Original Chai Stall
I Shed (Organics Shed)
Queen Victoria Market
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
Disclaimer: I was invited to visit Original Chai Stall as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way.