Take two university friends, one Indian, one Sri Lankan. Add a stunning brick space in Camden Market, a wooden colour palette with splashes of green and blue here and there. Sprinkle with passion and creativity. This is Pamban, London’s first chai house.
The elegant fragrance of spices and cloves stops you in your tracks as you walk by, invites you in. Coffee, tea, we now associate with working. They keep us awake, sharpen our thoughts, but passed the first cup, there is no pleasure left. Automatic drinking. Chai, on the other hand, instantly transports you to a happy place. It’s like a hug in a cup.
Fudge, mint, rose, saffron chais
Pamban takes it to a new level, adding unexpected flavour twists. The classic masala blend features on the menu, as does the karak version, sweetened with condensed milk and served in traditional Sri Lankan clay cups. This is the easy part: chai comes in 5 additional flavours, with the option of a flight of three: fudge, mint, lavender, saffron… even rose petals, the drink taking a slight pink tint after a few minutes. It’s light and comforting, poetic and festive, ultimately addictive.
Asian inspired treat
There also are Asian-inspired treats to indulge in: spiced rice and slow cooked curry served in steamed banana leaves, the most delicate cardamom buns, Skri Lankan love cakes filled with pumpkin preserve, rose water and cashew nuts, milkshakes made with jaggery (coconut flavoured sugar), kulfi affogato, rooibos shots served with cinnamon and kithul (half way between maple syrup and honey)… Pamban obviously is calculated so that you will not want to leave until you have tried everything on the counter.
Make your way there before Time Out and The Londonist bring the crowds in!
Pamban | North Yard Chalk Farm Road London, NW1 8AH