Chaaye Waala: Hip on the Johar Town strip
It was somewhere around 9:30 pm, we had just finished a long day of helping out a friend get his research project sorted. It was cold and we were exhausted. Driving down to Johar Town I felt like getting some tea and decided to make a quick stop. I voiced it out loud with a “Do you guys want some chaaye (tea)?” We were tired and sleepy, and could absolutely not say no to chaaye. We went to the Chaaye Waala.
In a Nutshell:
- Chic interiors
- Pop-culture references galore
- Nostalgic experiences for bored millennials
- A shoestring budget? No problem
- Skip the tea, try the burger
- Family friendly
We stopped by at Chaaye Waala, a small, slightly shady cafe. Its entrance was narrow and convoluting and I was somewhat hesitant to go into the restaurant. But the idea of a piping hot cup of tea was more tempting than entertaining my inhibitions.
To my surprise, the place was actually pretty decent. it had a chic aesthetic which catered to pop culture savvy individuals. The staff was very friendly as well, and their hospitable demeanor made everything better.
“Hum model nahi, Chaaye banatay hain”
We settled down and while going through their menu I noticed a few things that I found to be funny. They had it written on there “hum model nahe, chaaye banatay hain” referring to the handsome Chaaye Wala turned model. Almost everything there had a touch of humor to it. They actually have a burger named Anday Wala Burger, referring to the famous meme. The tea that they offer retails for PKR 90 and unlike some other modern dhaba restaurants, it is enough to satisfy the craving. While I was ordering us two cups of tea, my friend got creative and ordered a burger just so he could say “mujhey anday wala burger!” I practically disowned them, but I have to admit, it was pretty funny.
The music was another positive thing about Chaaye Waala. The playlist primarily consisted of Coke Studio’s classical renditions that added up to the whole desi dhaaba vibe of the place. A little while later the food (the burger) arrived followed by cups of tea as well. The bun was a little burnt but my friend marveled at the authentic, desi flavor of the anday wala burger.
By its appearance, the tea didn’t look at all extraordinary. It actually looked pretty average, but I had high hopes as the place, you know, is called Chaaye Waala. I took the first sip and immediately concluded that I made better tea than this at home. I like my tea thick and strong, not this water-based ninety rupee murk. However, the open-air seating, the cold breeze, and the music are what I enjoyed the most. Considering we only spent PKR 350 altogether, the place was a hit.
I would definitely want to visit again, but it wouldn’t hurt if they worked on their chaaye a bit more.
Chaaye Waala, Johar Town, +92322 4988548