Monday, July 28, 2014

What's new?

It is not fair to expect a 'Tea House' to be open in the morning, which is when this picture was taken. The Novelty Tea House is not a pretentious newcomer to the world of eating out in Chennai; it is an establishment that is being run by the third generation in the business currently. 

Chandrakant Moolchand Shah was probably frustrated trying to find some north Indian snacks in the early '50s. He channeled that frustration into setting up a stall. There seem to have been no grand plans initially; it was just a 'tea stall', but clearly, the desire was to be different, hence 'Novelty'. Sowcarpet, where the first stall was, welcomed it. Over 50 years, the stall grew into a 'House', but remained within the north Madras area. It was only over the last 4 or 5 years that they have opened out to other parts of the city.

This one on Radhakrishnan Salai is, I believe, the most recent of the three locations. When open, it is usually chock-a-block with those itching to have a dahi-poori or four with their cuppa tea, or maybe a faluda. Once inside, it is easy to imagine you are away from Chennai - there is so much of Hindi in the air that English and Tamizh sound intrusive. But that is only to be expected at an establishment which claims to have introduced the pav-bhaji to Madras!

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