Royal Paan

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drank Masala Chai by Royal Paan
14171 tasting notes

Back when I was living in Regina, Royal Paan was my absolute favourite place to order Indian from. They specialize in Indian street foods and it’s just so good. When I moved to Montreal I was crushed that, not only did they not have Royal Paan (it’s a chain), but that I simply couldn’t find another restaurant in the city that had Indian street food that even came close to rivaling them…

Well, a few months ago they finally opened up a location, and I swear I cried real legit tears. One of the many time I ordered in the last few months I ended up getting a Masala Chai instead of my normal lassi. They do all of their Chai stovetop and, even though I don’t usually love spiced teas, I wanted to try it out.

I found the black tea used to be really strongly malty and, even with the milk, so full bodied and brisk. It’s always a bit strange when a latte is tannic, but it was! In terms of the spices, the ones I felt were strongest were cinnamon, anise, and clove but there was definitely lots of ginger too. Even with the anise, I didn’t find this to be sweet at all. The finish was a bit sulfurous, though. To be honest, it wasn’t really my thing but I didn’t expect it to be either. It was more, like, curiosity that drove me to try it than a belief I’d love it.

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I had my goodbye supper with my Dad last night, which was emotional.

I got to choose the restaurant though, and this has definitely become one of my favourites in the last few months so it was important to me to have a “last meal” (of sorts) there to say goodbye, since this chain doesn’t have any locations in Quebec at all. We basically had all of my favourites; Cheese Dabeli, Chocolate & Hazelnut Dosa, Rose Lemonade, and Kashmiri Chai. It was a good meal.

This is an interesting “chai” – it’s chai is the way that people in India use the word, which is to say it’s the word for “tea” and not specifically spiced tea. This definitely through off my Dad, who really only knows chai as spiced tea. I think it’s amazingly prepared by Royal Paan though – you really, really know it’s the good shit/traditional Kashmiri chai because it’s this really beautiful and rich pink colour when it’s served. That’s what happens when air is beaten into the pot of chai on the stove top over the course of several hours; it oxidizes! It’s an intense, beautiful labor of love and you really have to show proper respect and admiration for all the work that goes into producing this stunning type of tea!

Royal Paan uses a rose tea, which is right up my alley – with the thickened milk in the tea and the mix of pistachio and almonds that are served poured over top the tea it creates this amazing, thick floral and nutty profile that reminds me of halvah. It’s really rich, and so wickedly smooth. Not chai tea the way that I think of it most of the time; but a great treat and something that really makes me feel like I’m getting to experience Indian Tea Culture in one of the best ways.

I will deeply miss this restaurant.


This is a beautiful, evocative write up. I would love to taste it, but reading your experience of it is almost as good!

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