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First Chai bar in Brussels: Darjeeling Garden serves authentic beverages

11:35 22/01/2024

Forget the cloyingly sweet and over-spiced chai lattes popularised by big coffee chains. New Brussels tea house Darjeeling Garden is on a mission to deliver authentic homemade beverages made from traditional Indian recipes.

Installed in the Chatelain area, the establishment is named after the town in the Himalayan foothills that is famed as a producer of the world’s finest tea.

The now eponymous chai latte – often flavoured with syrups or powders - bears little resemblance to the original subtly spiced milky tea sold by street vendors in India.

Says Darjeeling Garden on its Instagram page: "No cheating here, our chai is made respecting its know-how. Chai is not only a combination of tea and spices, but it is much more than that... it is also the cooking process , which requires time and patience."

Darjeeling Garden

Running the chai bar is Lhama Svaluto (pictured), the owner of city Tibetan restaurant Mo Mo. For her new venture, she envisioned a place that embodied serenity and tranquility, reminiscent of her time living in Darjeeling.

Coffee lovers are also catered to in this haven of peace, with local Saint-Gilles business Mayabro supplying roasted coffee beans.

And there are plenty of tempting sweet and savoury snacks to accompany the hot drinks, including matcha cake,  brioche with mango syrup, vegan carrot and butternut tartlets and veggie samosas with spicy salsa sauce.

Darjeeling Garden welcomes customers in need of a quiet place to work and boasts a cosy terrace and garden for warmer days. Meanwhile, the decor is inviting and eclectic, full of antique  furniture and objects.

Photos: Darjeeling Garden

Written by The Bulletin