Paani kum Chai is an odd establishment you’ll find on the way to Swagath Garuda Mall in Tilaknagar (one of its three branches spread across the city), buts it’s a good place to have the namesake paani kum chai, a strong, ginger-laced tea.

Though it does have a few of the usual dishes, they serve no bun maska, or bhonu, both of which have been popularised by the typical Irani café, that most excellent kind of cornershop.

However, you get a strange combination of stuff here — ‘Kentucky chicken’ being one of them, along with samosas, lassis, ‘chicken hyderabadi’ rolls, ‘chicken anda’ rolls, vegetarian and chicken cutlets and even several different types of burgers; and last but not least, the caramel pudding, which particularly stands out and is pretty thoughtful of them, because most of their food does tend to sting a bit, including the joint’s namesake brew.

This seven-year-old joint is definitely a welcome break from the more modern coffee shops that have overshadowed Irani cafés. Like most others of its ilk, the café provides a strong drink to those who need it, enough to revitalise and put some strength back into tired limbs. This is probably the best time to pay a visit to Paani kum Chai — take advantage of the cold weather to go have a piping hot drink and a burger, a combination which goes rather well together, according to both Sayyed Aijaz, the owner, and the establishment’s numerous clientele.

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