Photos: Ayam Siam
Kolkata Chai Co. is opening its second location in Nolita (60 Kenmare St, NYC), bringing chai culture and Indian street food to one of the most dynamic food neighborhoods in the city. Founded by brothers Ani and Ayan Sanyal in 2019, Kolkata Chai Co. says its mission is to reclaim the narrative around chai in the Western world by thoughtfully elevating chai culture and Indian street food with an emphasis on ingredients, ingenuity and flavors that go into every dish.
While chai is often lumped as an after-thought to coffee shop menus in the U.S., it is a cornerstone of food culture across South Asia, and is traditionally enjoyed with something to eat. As such, Kolkata Chai Co.’s new location will prominently feature an expanded food menu that pays homage to classic Kolkata street foods.
They include favorites from their East Village café like the Egg Roll made with soft-scrambled eggs, pickled onions and mint chutney, stuffed inside a warm flaky paratha. A Vegan Paratha is a riff on Ghugni chaat, a popular Kolkata street food, with Kolkata Chai Co.’s version taking a yellow pea curry and adding tamarind, onion, tomato and cilantro. The KCC Buddha Bowl is made with seasonal vegetables, turmeric rice, and curried egg.
Other snacks include a Samosa with mint and tamarind chutney (available as one or as a set of three), Bhel Puri with puffed rice, tamarind, onions, tomato, and cilantro, and Samosa Chaat, which takes two smashed samosas and tops it with chickpeas, onion, tomato and cilantro.
Just in time for the warmer weather, the shop is also rolling out its seasonal Oat Milk Chai Soft Serve special, a non-dairy ice cream made with the brand’s proprietary tea and spice mix with warm notes of cardamom and cinnamon.
Other new arrivals include the Masala Limca, similar to a popular lemon-lime soda found in India, infused with masala spices and fresh lime, and the Kashmiri Pink Chai with gunpowder green tea brewed with spices and choice of milk.
The interior of the Kolkata Chai Co. draws its inspiration from the vibrant energy of Kolkata’s street stalls and food scene replicated through an open kitchen layout and vibrant colors.