The peppercorn-spice of Srilankan cinnamon that underpins the rich, semi-sweet milky chai teas, ensures that Pamban's chais are a cut above their saccharine cousins from Starbucks. Their subtlety comes from the way in which they are brewed. That's to say in the traditional way – on a stovetop – which, in London, is a method not usually found outside of large sit-down restaurants. If you're not taken with their original, masala chai, they offer chais infused with flavours such as rose, saffron, and lavender among others. All are delicious, though the saffron can be a little overwhelming.
But great chai would be lost without something to nibble on between sips. Owners Mayhul Gondhea and Aruna Sellahewa have dug deep into their heritage to provide a menu of snacks that ticks off everything you might want with a hot drink.
Fudgy Indian Barfie – chocolate, pistachio, or coconut – supersede the brownie, as does the nutty, delicate Sri Lankan Love Cake. All are excellent companions to the drinks on offer. For those not afflicted by a sweet tooth, we'd recommend the salt and spice of the Kenyan Chevron, or the crunchy, meaty Pamban Rolls which, despite their Sri Lankan origin, are also known as Chinese rolls.
If you would like something more substantial. Pamban offers Lamprais, a Dutch-influenced Sri Lankan dish consisting of beetroot curry, aubergine, onions, cashew curry, and a choice of mutton, chicken, pork or vegetables, all slow-cooked in a palm leaf. It is delicious, though they do not negotiate on spice, so it is best enjoyed with a refreshing mango or coconut lassi. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, a jaggery milkshake – sweet, creamy, and crunchy.
Next time you head to Camden Market, drop into Pamban for a chai, a coffee, and a snack. It'll be well worth your time.
Pamban is open 9 am to 6 pm on weekdays, and 10 am to 7 pm on weekends.
|What||Pamban Chai and Coffee House review|
|Where||Camden Market, Camden High St, London, NW1 8NH | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Chalk Farm (underground)|
01 Aug 17 – 01 Aug 18, 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
|Website||Please click here for more information|