If your last Indian meal in Atlanta involved a dark, stiff-tableclothed dining room, an overflowing bowl of curry-soaked basmati and a whole lot of sitar, take note: Chai Pani, the latest additition to Decatur's dining scene, does Indian food like you've never seen it before. Unless, of course, you've spent a significant amount of time casually strolling the streets of Mumbai, in which case you'll feel right at home snacking on the Indian street snacks (chaat) that made this joint a cult favorite in its hometown of Asheville, NC. Yup, just when we thought Decatur's dining scene couldn't get any better, they go and give us okra fries.
Now, after the beloved Indian eatery decided to head southward, our quiet little Decatur has its own slice of the vibrant energy of the streets of India. From the decor (keep an eye out for the repurposed vintage Indian posters lining the hallway) to, of course, the food (spicy, flavorful snacks one might find at a roadside stand), the space that once housed Watershed is now a cheery, quirky homage to the sights, scents, sounds and delicious tastes of India. We got a chance to snack on some of these roadside-style victuals, and.... well, the crispy kale pakora, fried in a chickpea batter, is the kind of bar snack one could nibble on into the wee hours with nary a care in the world (it is kale, after all). The saag paneer has its own cult following back home in Asheville. And if you don't believe an Indian restaurant can serve you the best Sloppy Joe you've ever had in your life, take a bite out of the Sloppy Jai and call us in the morning. Preferably tomorrow morning--as of today, the long-awaited restaurant's doors are officially open, so you can head over to Decatur and see what all the fuss is about.