Us Indians have a special connection with tea, or as most locals call it, Chai. Our love affair with Chai isn’t something that can be explained logically but, moreover, can only be described with passion. On our previous episode of Chai with Hyundai, you guys saw my colleague Gavin explore the hills of the north in search of the perfect cup of tea and with him was the trusted Hyundai Creta. Now for this episode, I will take you on an adventure around my hometown, Mumbai and show you some of my favourite spots around town where Tea isn’t just a drink but it is more of an emotion.
Accompanying me on this journey around Mumbai is the Hyundai Kona Electric, the car that started the EV revolution in India. Honestly, looking at the ever-constant rising fuel prices, I was pleased to be driving around in an electric vehicle. Plus, it isn’t like the Kona Electric feels barren. On the contrary, it comes loaded with a whole host of features that genuinely blew me away. The feature I appreciated the most was the cooled front seats that worked like a dream in this Mumbai heat. Moving along, most EVs are plagued with range anxiety, but that is something the Kona Electric’s 39.2kWh battery pack made it obsolete by offering nearly 350 kilometres of range on a full charge.
Anyway, let us move on to what we really desired, which was a nice cup of tea to refresh me. My first destination was a quaint little old-school café in the heart of Bandra called Good Luck restaurant. This establishment was set up way before India’s independence, and they have been known to serve some fantastic tea and bun maska. Let me get you, folks, in on a little secret of this place, this used to be my Grandfather’s hangout spot during his younger times, and he was the one who introduced me to this place. For me, one sip from the cup and one bite of the bun maska brings back so many fun childhood memories of this place. Even after all these years, the taste of the tea they serve still remains the same!
Nonetheless, after this soul-quenching cup of tea at Good Luck Restaurant, I got back in the Kona Electric and pondered about my other location. Now I was stuck with two options, either go to my second favourite tea joint or try something incredibly unique. I recently noticed this new fad on social media of something called tandoori Chai, which I had to give a try. So I connected my phone via Apple CarPlay, set my navigation to the nearest tandoori chai joint around my location and set off for Mahim, where google showcased a lovely little street vendor famous for his tandoori Chai.
After having years of tea served regularly, this style of tea being served in a mud cup heated in a tandoor was undoubtedly a new experience. While the overall taste of the tea remains the same, the tandoor adds a nice smoky flavour to the tea making it quite tasty. Combine that with a nice packet of Parle G biscuits, and everyone would agree that Chai and Parle G seem like a match made in heaven. All in all, I can understand the trend of this tandoor tea on social media, but personally, I still prefer the old-school way of Chai.
Post that nice cup of Tandoori Chai, I was informed by my colleague to try a special Kolkata Kulhad tea at a lovely café called Chaos Control Café in Tardeo. Now trying something new always excites me, so I quickly arrived at that café to understand if my colleague was good at recommending stuff or if my travel was an utter waste. I have to admit that one sip of that kullad wali chai and I was simply left speechless. My taste buds were overwhelmed by the taste of saffron, cardamom and ginger, which instantly woke me up. After a day like mine, where I travelled across Mumbai to discover different Chai places, this kullad tea gave me quite an energy boost.
Sadly, I had to draw my adventure to a close as other duties called, and with a heavy heart, I started my journey back to the start. But after three blissful cups of tea, I wasn’t disheartened per se. Backing up my adventure was the Kona Electric, my perfect companion on this adventure around town. I cannot wait to head to the next destination to explore a nice hot cup of Chai. Until then, be sure to stick around to the Top Gear India YouTube channel for further episodes.