Pakistan's chaiwala, whose viral photo broke the internet, opens cafe in London

The address of Arshad Khan's cafe is East London’s Ilford Lane, which is home to many Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi nationals


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Photo: Instagram/chaiwalauk_ak
Photo: Instagram/chaiwalauk_ak

Published: Wed 19 Jul 2023, 1:09 PM

Last updated: Wed 19 Jul 2023, 5:49 PM

A Pakistani chai wala (tea vendor) who rose to fame overnight after featuring in a viral photograph in 2016 has now opened a cafe in London.

Arshad Khan’s viral picture was captured by Pakistani photographer Jiah Ali and showed him preparing tea while gazing at the camera. It catapulted the blue-eyed Pakistani tea vendor into the limelight. He bagged modelling projects, acted in commercials, and starred in a music video.

Arshad Khan, reportedly in his mid-20s, has now opened a cafe in East London’s Ilford Lane, which is home to many Pakistanis, Indians and Bangladeshis.

The Cafe Chai Wala Arshad Khan offers “desi karak chai”, which is prepared in “Pakistani dhaba-style kettles to give that extra strong karak touch and essence”.

According to the photos of the cafe shared on Instagram, the place’s interior incorporates traditional and cultural South Asian elements such as a decorated scooter, vibrant paintings on walls, and artwork on earthen pots.

Announcing the opening of his “first international chai shop”, Arshad Khan said he will soon visit the London cafe and make tea for his fans.

“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,” Khan was quoted as saying by ANI news agency.

Arshad Khan also has a ‘Cafe Chai Wala’ outlet in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad — which he opened in 2020. It is a rooftop cafe and has similar design elements as the London outlet. Besides tea, Arshad offers 15-20 dishes at the cafe, according to reports.

Three Asian brothers Nadir Durrani, Bahadar Durrani and Akbar Durrani have brought the ‘Cafe Chai Wala’ brand to London. They plan to open more outlets in the UK and other parts of Europe, reported ANI.

After becoming an internet sensation in 2016, Arshad Khan was named one of ‘Asia’s Sexiest Men’ by the London publication Eastern Eye. On the list, Khan secured the 31st position and ranked with some Bollywood, Hollywood and Pakistani stars like singer Zayn Malik, actor Hrithik Roshan, and Fawad Khan.


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