A Pakistani chaiwala who went viral for his blue eyes has now opened his own cafe in London.
Arshad Khan became an overnight sensation in 2016 when he was spotted selling tea from a small stall on a side road in Islamabad. His eyes led to Arshad attracting attention, particularly among women and he has now opened his own cafe, located on London’s Ilford Lane.
Named Cafe Chaiwala Arshad Khan, the eatery pays homage to the traditions and culture of Arshad’s native background, complete with the bright colours of truck art and Desi-inspired wall paintings. The cafe’s interior is a blend of modern with a mix of traditional stall-type vibes.
The cafe offers a wide selection of tea, including the famous karak chai, gurr [jaggery] chai, honey malai chai, and Kashmiri chai. Foodwise, the cafe offers Pakistani street food such as freshly made parathas, laden with chicken tikka and malai boti.
Furthermore, customers can enjoy the broader range of food on the menu which boasts delicacies such as samosa chaat, papri chaat, roll paratha, omelettes, halwa and much more. Speaking about the cafe, Arshad said: “My visit is being planned and I would love to brew tea for my loving fans.
“I have received thousands of requests for a London visit. Our first international chai shop is now open on Ilford Lane and the response is massive already.
“With the Durrani brothers, we decided to start from Ilford Lane due to the fact that it’s home to a large number of Pakistanis and Indians who love chai. I will be in London soon in person.”
The Chaiwala brand was started in London by brothers Bahadar Durrani, Nadir Durrani and Akbar Durrani and they plan on opening more franchises across the UK, Europe, North America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. Akbar is said to focus on the family business whilst Nadir overlooks the Chaiwala business.
Akbar Durrani revealed that the international rights to the cafe were obtained in 2021 but the delay was in sourcing the perfect location that would match the brand’s image. After careful consideration, the brothers decided that Ilford Lane was the perfect location as it has one of the largest Asian communities in London.
The next step for the Durani brothers now is to open more cafes in London. Originally from a traditional Pashtun family in Mardan, Arshad was dubbed ‘Chaiwala’, which became his brand name.
Deciding to use his newfound fame to his advantage, Arshad decided to go down the entrepreneur route in order to build a better life for his family.