by Anisah Vasta
I’m sure if you’ve explored areas like Sparkhill, Alum Rock and Small Heath you’ve probably seen chaat stalls where you can stand and enjoy some of the best chaat in Brum. But with many independent places opening in Birmingham we tried one of the ‘most authentic’ on Alum Rock Road.
Right at the top of the bustling road is Chai Green. I sat down and was straight away served a menu of over 30 dishes. This place has a beautiful aesthetic interior, nicely decorated with green and blue leaves hanging across the ceiling. The atmosphere is bustling too.
After fasting all day and battling with myself on what to try for some time, a helpful server, Naz recommended trying their samosa chaat and their special desi breakfast.
When the samosa chaat arrived the presentation struck me the most. Samosa chaat is traditionally eaten from a paper plate in India and Pakistan with not the best presentation but it was nice to see a gourmet take on a classic street food snack costing £5.99.
My mum can make a mean samosa chaat at home but this surprisingly lived up to my high expectations. The topped pomegranate seeds added a burst of flavour to the already flavourful dish of samosas, yoghurt and tangy tamarind sauce. However, I would say the samosa was a little too spicy for my liking but the pastry around it was very flaky which gave a nice crunch.
Next up was the ‘Desi breakfast’ which replicates a full English breakfast but instead is filled with spices and ends with a warm cup of hot chai, a spiced milky tea. I like the idea of a British classic brekky with a South Asian spin.
The paratha mimicked the fried bread, a cheesy omelette and spicy beans satisfied all my full English cravings. But the best part was the cup of authentic chai to top it off.
Tea is a must which was included with the desi breakfast priced at a reasonable £7.15. If you thought I had finished – not just yet. With their extensive menu, I wanted to try one of the most popular South Asian breakfasts but one of my personal favourites, halwa puri.
The halwa puri was one of the best I’ve tasted at an affordable rate of £4.95. The halwa was sweet, the channa was spicy and the puri was soft like a cloud – its combination was an explosion of flavours, sweet and spicy.
Finally, Chai Green offers a range of cakes displayed in the shop window so I couldn’t help but try one after all the spicy food I had just eaten. I chose a slice of Biscoff cake priced at £3.99.
It wasn’t the best cake I have tasted but you could taste the Biscoff flavour and that was enough for me. Overall, from my feast of Pakistani street food, the halwa puri passed all expectations as it’s the best combination of sweet with the halwa and spicy with the channa daal.
After fasting for the whole day, this food really hit the spot and left me feeling full to the brim. But keeping with the tradition of authentic street food, the prices are reasonable for decent-sized portions too.
There’s truly something for everyone with over 40 dishes on the menu ranging from finger foods like sandwiches to full desi style breakfasts. The atmosphere is buzzing with polite servers but best of all it’s located in the heart of Alum Rock and is a perfect place to break your fast.