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Viral Sensation Turned Entrepreneur – Pakistani Chai Wala Opens Cafe in London


Arshad Khan, the Pakistani chai wala who became an internet sensation overnight in 2016 after a viral photograph, has now embarked on a new journey as an entrepreneur. Rising from humble beginnings, Khan has opened a trendy cafe named “Cafe Chai Wala Arshad Khan” in East London’s vibrant Ilford Lane, a neighborhood known for its diverse South Asian community.

Cafe Chai Wala Arshad Khan in East London
“Cafe Chai Wala Arshad Khan” in East London’s vibrant Ilford Lane

The iconic photograph, captured by Pakistani photographer Jiah Ali, portrayed a blue-eyed Arshad Khan preparing tea with a mesmerizing gaze at the camera. The image quickly captured the hearts of netizens worldwide, propelling Khan to fame. He received modeling opportunities, appeared in commercials, and even starred in a music video.

Now in his mid-20s, Arshad Khan’s entrepreneurial spirit has led him to venture into the food industry. Cafe Chai Wala Arshad Khan aims to serve the authentic “desi karak chai,” a traditional Pakistani tea prepared with a strong and flavorful touch, reminiscent of the bustling dhabas back home. The cafe’s interior exudes South Asian charm, featuring cultural elements such as a decorated scooter, vibrant wall paintings, and artwork on earthen pots.

Arshad khan "pakistani chai wala"  opening of his "first international chai shop.

Excitedly announcing the opening of his “first international chai shop,” Khan expressed his eagerness to visit the London cafe and personally serve his devoted fans. He stated, “My visit is being planned, and I would love to brew tea for my loving fans. Our first international Chai shop is now open on Ilford Lane, and the response is massive already.”

The Cafe Chai Wala brand expansion in London has been made possible through the collaboration of three enterprising Asian brothers – Nadir Durrani, Bahadar Durrani, and Akbar Durrani. They plan to introduce more outlets not only in the UK but also in various parts of Europe.

Adding to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Arshad Khan also established a rooftop cafe under the same brand in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad back in 2020. Mirroring the London outlet’s design elements, the Islamabad cafe offers an array of 15-20 dishes, making it a delightful spot for tea enthusiasts and food lovers alike.

Arshad Khan’s rapid rise to fame did not go unnoticed. In 2016, he was honored as one of “Asia’s Sexiest Men” by the prestigious London publication Eastern Eye, securing the 31st position alongside esteemed names like singer Zayn Malik, actor Hrithik Roshan, and fellow Pakistani star Fawad Khan.

As Cafe Chai Wala Arshad Khan sets its roots in London, it not only offers a taste of authentic Pakistani tea but also symbolizes the incredible journey of an ordinary chai wala transformed into an internet sensation and now a successful entrepreneur. The cafe’s warm ambiance and delectable offerings are sure to attract tea aficionados from diverse communities and continue Arshad Khan’s inspiring story of triumph and achievement.

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