1A Kitchener Rd, Sandringham
Tel 09 846 9393
I FELL IN love with Indian food all over again last night.
While it’s tempting to just keep on going to favourites like the almost always great (and economical) Jai Jalaram Khaman or Bikanerval or Sasuma when you get that craving for South Indian food, there’s such an explosion of cheap eateries that it would be remiss not to check out as many as possible.
So here we are, at a new branch of Mumbai Chaat, otherwise to be found at 71 Taylor Rd, Blockhouse Bay. This one – much more convenient – is literally just around the corner from the main drag of shops in Sandringham.
Chaat is basically an Indian savoury snack, most often found in street stalls, and a portion of Mumbai Chaat’s menu is devoted to chaat – including dabeli (vegetarian burger), samosa, bhel puri (puffed rice with tamarind sauce) and pav bhaji (a distinctive, thick potato-based curry with white bread buns). A full platter of chaat snacks can be ordered for the princely sum of $15.
Both were utterly delicious, and I have to say, there wasn’t one mouthful of any of the dishes that didn’t light up my mouth with pleasure.
Not only was the food delicious, but it was also very good value, and the South Indian Combo Thali, in particular, was slightly different to any other I’ve tasted in Auckland’s now numerous South Indian vegetarian restaurants.
For sheer value – including quantity of food – it still can’t compare to Sasuma on Dominion Rd, but, on the other hand, Mumbai Chaat’s menu is much, much more extensive.
The place itself is cosy, and geared towards take aways, with seating only for 12, and it also closes quite early of an evening, so unlike Dosa Plaza and a few others, it’s not a place for a long, leisurely meal. Having said that, we went on a Tuesday night, and it was empty apart from our table.
Personally, I can’t wait to go back and sample as many of their other dishes as I can; especially the chaat menu. And I’m feeling confident about it, because the chap behind the counter is very friendly and helpful – a rarity in Indian establishments!
They also have a small but very fresh selection of Indian sweets.
I’m getting ravenous all over again just writing about it. GARY STEEL
Note: Mumbai Chaat sells itself as having both vegetarian and vegan food, so if in doubt, ask.