Gabriel and Abhilash were always destined to create something special. They first met as new recruits at a large consultancy. Both were obsessed with food and flavours, and in particular those from India. Gabriel had lived in New Delhi as a child and Abhilash’s heritage is Indian.
The guys started exploring London’s exciting Indian food scene, going to a new restaurant in the city most Friday evenings. The food was good but there was something missing: authentic Indian Chai. The sugar-filled Chai tea lattes on offer were a very poor substitute.
Here was a gap in the market and their opportunity to be creative. And so, the Chai Guys journey began in October 2018.
First came the pilgrimage to the streets of Delhi in search of the perfect Chai. They talked to chaiwallahs and tea growers and returned home with suitcases filled with tea leaves and their minds full of dreams. Then came the hard work.
It took eight months but by the spring of 2019 the Chai Guys had their recipes and branding nailed. The menu included the traditional Masala Chai, Kadak Chai and Kashmiri Chai but with a Chai Guys twist – exceptionally fresh spices and a precise method for brewing.
Locations pop up all over London
Brick Lane is known as a hub for South Asian restaurants, no better place to test the Chai Guys concept. In May 2019 Chai Guys opened for business. The distinctive branding made them stand out and their theatrical and traditional sales technique pouring the Chai from a height stopped customers in their tracks.
But it was the incredible and authentic taste of the Chai that made them a success. Lines formed and sales soared. Two months later, in July 2019, they moved into Shoreditch’s prestigious Spitalfields Market. And two months after that they opened near Victoria Station. Chai Guys was up and running.