Warmth and Spice: Chai Guys Portobello cafe's evocative interior

SODA, a local studio renowned for its innovative designs, has recently unveiled the captivating interior of Chai Guys Portobello cafe on London’s iconic Portobello Road.

This marks the first physical store for Chai Guys, a brand previously known for its vibrant presence in market stalls. The cafe’s design is a harmonious blend of warm colours, natural materials, and a nod to the aromatic world of spices.


Matilde Menezes, the interior designer behind this project, drew inspiration from the relaxed ambiance of enjoying masala chai tea, translating it into a space that offers both impact and subtlety. The 55-square-meter cafe encompasses a seating area, a front-of-house desk for tea preparation, and a bakery at the rear offering delectable pastries.

One of the design’s key objectives was to create a peaceful haven amidst the bustling energy of Portobello Road while staying true to the essence of Chai Guys’ branding. Menezes elaborated on this, stating, “The brand is a modern take on chai, and we wanted the interior to reflect this with its clean, minimalistic aesthetic.”

The colour palette plays a pivotal role in evoking the essence of spices, with shades reminiscent of chai’s rich hues subtly woven into the space. Menezes explained that this approach allows the branding and products to take centre stage, ensuring a cohesive and immersive experience for visitors.

Natural materials take precedence in the cafe’s design, with walls adorned in Clayworks plaster—an eco-friendly choice known for its breathability and low environmental impact. Complementing this are timber panelling and tactile seating options in boucle and leather, chosen for their durability and sensory appeal.

“The textures and materials were carefully selected to withstand the demands of a high-traffic commercial environment while offering a visually appealing and comfortable setting,” Menezes added.

Overall, Chai Guys Portobello cafe stands as a testament to thoughtful design that seamlessly blends functionality, aesthetics, and cultural inspiration, inviting patrons to indulge in a sensory journey through the world of chai.

Images by Pierce Scourfield via Dezeen

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