BADMAASH is a family-run Indian gastropub in L.A. from chef Pawan Mahendro and sons Nakul and Arjun. They’re willing to modernize certain dishes in their “badass” culinary arsenal, but the Bombay Cutting Chai is apparently just how you’d find it on the streets of Mumbai.
The strong Chai ($3), made with Indian black tea that Nakul described as “blacker than black,” comes in small glasses, which chai-wallahs (“tea-people”) typically serve in green caddies to ease delivery. “Cutting” chai refers to the water it takes to dilute the drink’s highly caffeinated potency. The Mahendros make their chai with two parts water, one part whole milk and tea spiced with brown cinnamon, crushed black and green cardamom, fresh ginger, and a pinch of black pepper. The murky tan liquid, strained before serving, arrives piping hot, and since there’s no handle on the glass, the only choice is to lift from the top, with two fingers. According to Nakul, “The palm of ones hand naturally faces downward, creating a ‘chamber’ around ones nose to inhale as much chai aroma possible – intensifying the flavor.” Enjoy a glass during a meal at BADMAASH and expect to feel flavorful, espresso-like effects.