The handmade decor - largely created by the women but with murals added by artist friends like Hannah Taylor, who painted Rehman - gives the restaurant the charm of an intimate and exotic hideaway.Tea is still a big part of the experience, with daily changing blends of masala chai (like the milky sweet Malabar tea scented with cardamom and black pepper I sipped on our first visit).

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When Thomas persuaded Margie Felton, her onetime roommate and former colleague (long ago at the Commissary) to join the project as her partner and co-chef, the snack-cafe concept grew into something a bit more substantial - suitable for a proper sit-down meal.

It's still a very casual space, draped in fabrics and the pulse of Indian cinema music.

Everything about this room - including the aromatic South Indian flavors and the fact that this unique new BYOB even exists - is an evocative and unexpected delight.

From the array of intricately crunchy chaat salads to little pav sliders stuffed with curried fish patties and the flaky parotta flatbreads wrapped taco-style around coconut-braised short ribs, Chaat & Chai breezily steps beyond the predictable playbook that most local Indian restaurants have followed.

Reports said that the couple live-streamed having sex knowingly, but it seems the woman was unaware of what Linu was up to.

The woman filed a case against Linu -- an employee at a hotel in Nedumkandam in Kerala's Idukki -- saying she was "raped" by him on the promise of marriage.At traditional Kerala-style restaurants like Mallu Cafe in Northeast Philly, the exceptionally delicate parotta is simply served as a side ("use it as a wrap," our server there told us), so the taco-style presentation here isn't that far off base.And the beef itself is wonderfully authentic, braised to tenderness in coconut milk for hours with the clovey kiss of masala spice, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and toasted coconut.Black chickpeas sparked with mustard seeds, curry leaves, and fennel make for a soulful Kerala twist on the familiar chana masala made with white chickpeas.Two variations on chicken - a spicy south Indian Chettinad with coconut milk and star anise, and a North Indian roadside classic called dhaba chicken with more of a gingery tomato gravy - were satisfyingly flavorful and tender.The woman who filed the complained against Linu is married to another man and has a kid with him but does not live with her husband.