There seemed to be some skepticism in the air when Chhaya opened a few months ago on Passyunk Ave. A cafe that was a coffee house specializing in sweet and savory waffles during the morning and day, then, on weekend evenings, a cafe serving small plates?
It's really not as complicated and schizophrenic as it sounds. Chhaya is simply a cafe that serves up better than average food than most coffee houses.On the surface, Chhaya's small and bright cafe looks like any neighborhood coffee shop, with people dropping by the counter for a latte to go, and people settling in at a table with a cuppa and their computer. If you're a coffee snob, know that Chhaya prepares coffee to order using the siphon method.If you'd like a little more sustenance, Chhaya offers the likes of bagels, muffins, vegan cupcakes, scones, yogurt parfait, pancakes, eggs, home fries, salads, wraps, and paninis. Most baked goods are made in house, with the exception of baguettes (sources up the road from Artisan Boulanger), and bagels.
Of course, don't miss out on Chhaya's specialty — waffles!
If you have a sweet tooth, order the whipped cream-topped, thick Belgian-style waffle with either fresh fruit or chocolate chips. Classic, sweet, and simple.Feeling savory? The chili, cheese, and fried egg- topped waffle is in order. The mildly spiced vegetarian chili is studded with black and kidney beans, carrots, tomatoes, onions, and celery. Would love to see a corn meal-based waffle paired with the chili, but the not-too-sweet standard waffle batter works here.
An Eggs Benedict waffle topped with a poached egg, ham, and Hollandaise sauce is also on the menu. There is also a waffle of the day. On our visit, the waffle of the day was chicken curry. Yum!
Chhaya is a BYOB, so bring your champagne for brunch mimosas, or a bottle of wine for Friday and Saturday evenings when the menu changes over to small plates.
Weekend evening small plates feature dishes like olives, roasted eggplant relish, tomato salad, white bean hummus, charcuterie plate, warm figs with blue cheese and prosciutto, marinated white anchovies, and Tuscan style meatballs with white wine sauce.
See, it really is a coffee shop with better food. Just look at this spread of food! Must return for dinner soon.
1823 E. Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19148