Fantastic taste experience: ChaaCha serves social dining at its best

by Nathalia Hentze Nielsen

On November 7th, a new restaurant opened its doors at Reberbansgade 16 with the festive name “ChaaCha.”

When a new dining place opens, we are there to taste, and we’ve been to quite a few restaurants by now.

Therefore, we have a pretty good basis to say that it has been one of the most impressive restaurant openings we have experienced.

Darious Ravishangar, the man behind ChaaCha, didn’t need a ramp-up period to get the menu in order – the food and cocktails are already spot on.

He has previously had great success with “The Dosa Spot” and “Little India” at Aalborg Streetfood, so we are not surprised that everything is working seamlessly.

Before we delve into our restaurant experience, let’s briefly outline the concept: ChaaCha offers social dining that takes guests on a journey through an Indian-inspired kitchen.

This means that you will not only taste food from India but also from other Asian cuisines such as Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Nepal, and Pakistan.

A lot of food for the price

We visited on a regular Tuesday evening after work, and the combination of a long workday and the depressing November darkness made us quite tired.

Fortunately, the atmosphere at ChaaCha is so cozy and informal that you feel comfortable no matter what mood you’re in.

The beautiful surroundings undoubtedly play a role, but the atmosphere is equally created by the welcoming staff, who were very attentive to our needs and in good spirits (especially the bartender was a lively acquaintance during the evening).

Enough about that… let’s get into the food!

We chose the restaurant’s Tasting Menu, which must be ordered for a minimum of two people. The price is 249 DKK (Sunday to Thursday) and 289 DKK (Friday to Saturday).

At that price, you get eight shared dishes, BUT it’s ad libitum. That means you can order the eight dishes as many times as you like, and to top it off, you also get rice and chutney included.

Getting so much food for only 249 DKK is impressive in itself, but getting so much GOOD food for 249 DKK is fantastic.

In addition to the fact that ChaaCha’s food is fantastic, it is also a gastronomic eye-opener. We are used to Indian food being one thing – mainly curry dishes – and Darious challenges that with his extensive menu.

We ordered, among other things, Okra, which is an edible plant from Asia, coated in chickpea flour and ChaaCha’s own masala spice blend, then deep-fried.

It was the first time we had the pleasure of that plant, and just like with all the other vegetables we were served during the evening, the chefs knew how to bring out the best in both texture and flavor nuances.

Another quick favorite was the Chaat salad, which garnered several “wows” as we dove into the bowl.

Chaat is described as “a beloved dish, now an iconic favorite among street vendors throughout India.” We can understand why. The salad with eggplant in tempura batter, roasted rice, and yogurt hit all the right flavor notes; from crispiness to freshness and umami.

We ordered many vegetarian dishes, but we also tasted meat and seafood.

Darious recommended Masala Prawns, and we want to thank him many times for that. The tiger prawns, marinated in masala, were one of the evening’s best dishes, and if we hadn’t been so full, we would have ordered another round of this Goan classic.

In the meat department, we had Masala Ribs; pork ribs with homemade curry. If ChaaCha sold their masala blend, we would be first in line. You can’t go wrong choosing one of their masala specialties.

The meat was deliciously tender and well-spiced, like everything else we were served.

Some of the other flavorful dishes we had were Rolls with Chicken and Malai Makhani Broccoli, which we can also recommend.

If you don’t feel like trying the tasting menu, you can order all the dishes a la carte.

Creative cocktails that match the food

ChaaCha has an ambition to become as well-known for their cocktails as their food because they believe their cocktails tie the taste experience together.

Therefore, they offer happy hour from 20:00 until closing time every day, where you get 2 cocktails for the price of 1.

We let Darious and the bartender guide us and started with Chachi’s Lassi and Shalimar.

Chachi’s consists of Bumbu Creme (a rum liqueur), mango lassi, and cardamom. It’s a reimagining of the traditional mango lassi and certainly an improvement, if you ask us! It’s still creamy and delicious but adds an edge so it doesn’t taste like a drinkable yogurt.

In Shalimar, Absolut Vodka Vanilla is mixed with passion fruit and lime. We love a good sour drink, and Shalimar hits the mark. With the small rose petals on top of the drink and coconut flakes on the glass, the cocktail has a lot of X factor.

The next round was the bartender’s suggestion for a festive evening.

He served Dawood Ibrahim (named after India’s probably most infamous criminal) and Picante with a small chili on top.

Dawood contains Chivas Regal 12 years whisky, lemon, egg whites, and red wine. Whisky and red wine were an unknown combination in our world, but we must say it tastes really good.

So does Picante, but you have to be a fan of tequila if you order this. It tastes a lot like (good!) tequila and is spiced with chili, coriander, and lime. If you want a cocktail with a bit of a kick, go for it.

If you’re up for exploring more facets of Indian cuisine, ChaaCha is the obvious choice, and a big recommendation from us.

Food, cocktails, and price: It all came together in a higher unity.

The opening hours are Tuesday-Wednesday from 17:00 to 22:30 , Thursday 17:00 to 01:00, Friday-Saturday 17:00 to 02:00, and Sunday 12:00 to 22:30.

You can book a table at ChaaCha here.

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