Chalait - New York City, U.S.A.
Nestled in the heart of West Village at the intersection of bustling Christopher Street, West 4th Street, and 7th Avenue is a sunny matcha-focused café that also boasts incredibly good food. Locals come and go, stopping on the way to the office for a foamy green matcha latte or a quick shot of espresso at the narrow bar.
Chalait was imagined by husband-and-wife team Ramon Puyane and Michelle Gardner, and opened its doors to Manhattan’s matcha-lovers last winter. The young couple found their inspiration for Chalait in a trip across Japan, during which they came to love the calming ritual of the traditional tea ceremony and expertly whipped matcha tea.
Deciding that New Yorkers could use a space to refocus and discover the tradition of matcha, they envisioned Chalait as a place where eastern tea rituals could be presented in a thoroughly western setting. The name for their concept is a combination of the Japanese word for tea, “cha,” with the French word for milk, “lait.” Representing a convergence of cultures and identities, the re-imagined teahouse has become a successful community space in its own right.
Strong sunlights filters through two entirely glass walls, heating the minimalist café to a toasty glow in wintertime. Seating is limited to high stools along the wooden bar and a couple of short marble tables and chairs for those lucky enough to grab them.
The menu highlights Chalait's signature line of matcha tea, sourced directly from Uji, Japan’s rural tea-growing region. From high-grade matcha shots to sweet and frothy matcha lattes to an original matcha hot chocolate, there’s a creativity and whimsy displayed in the drinks, which are expertly whipped with a flick of the wrist by young baristas. Espresso drinks are also available.
Light breakfast and lunch items include a mind-blowingly good “Miso Butter Toast,” which combines the perfect amount of nutty, tangy umami flavour topped with soft-boiled eggs and sesame seeds. The popular “Avocado Sunrise” is an original take on avocado toast that layers sliced tomatoes, arugula, half an avocado, poached egg, and roasted pepitas. A fun and whimsical “Muesli Toast” essentially dollops a bowl of Greek yogurt, nuts, fruits, and honey onto a piece of toast. Chalait also keeps the menu interesting by introducing rotating seasonal specials like a “Cauliflower and Quinoa Bowl” with fried egg, avocado, and seasonal squash smothered in a spicy tahini sriracha sauce.
Our advice: come for the matcha, stay for the miso butter toast.
Chalait | Matcha - Tea - Espresso | 224 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10014 (between 7th and christopher) | Mon - Fri 7am to 7pm / Sat - Sun 8am to 7pm | Tlf: (212) 929 - 0266 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.chalait.com | #chalaitmatcha
Images © Emma Stencil
A few years ago Emma was traveling around Europe, when in early 2015 she traded Parisian cafés and marchés for the New York dollar-slice. 2016 has set Emma on another venture in Europe. Emma works in travel PR and writes about food, wine and destinations. Find her brunch recommendations at www.goodbrunch.wordpress.com