Mumbai Chaat Restaurant REVIEW 7

1A Kitchener Rd, Sandringham
Tel 09 846 9393
4/5 stars
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.

Mumbai Chaat interior

But tonight, we decided to go for thalis, opting for both the Regular Thali ($12.50) and the South Indian Combo ($13.50). Both were delicious. With the Regular Thali, you could choose the bread, and we chose puri, which are delicious, slightly oily puffed breads – five of them! Then there’s a vegetable curry (we chose spicy vegetable on the chef’s recommendation), daal/kadhi (which is like a lentil soup), rice, salad and pickles. [Note: although the daal/kadhi was on the menu, what we actually got was an extraordinary yoghurt soup. Yum!] The South Indian Combo comes with two idlis (a delicious moist mound made with rice and batter from fermented black lentils) with dipping sauce, two vada (like an Indian savoury donut), a small

Regular Thali

uthapam (a crepe that is very much like a mutant pizza), small masala dosa (potato curry inside a crisp, fermented crepe shell), sambar (soup) and chutney.
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,

South Indian Combo

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.

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7 thoughts on “Mumbai Chaat Restaurant REVIEW

  • Ashley Kramer

    I’m definitely going back soon! The Samosas last night were some of the tastiest I’ve ever had, I enjoyed the South Indian Combo Thali and loved the fact that you can have as much of the pickles as you like. A great discovery Mr. Steel.

  • Jay

    I find this restaurant being run with no basic customer services etiquettes. The owner and their son are rude towards customers and their own female staff.

    How can one eat at a joint where humans are treated like sh…!

  • Gary Steel Post author

    Jay, out of curiosity, are you a customer, or do you know these people?
    I’m curious, because every time I’ve eaten at Mumbai Chaat I’ve found the service excellent: very friendly, always with a smile, always helpful in choosing the right dishes and explaining what they are.
    This is in great contrast to many Indian restaurants around Auckland where the customer is made to feel like an imposition… for instance, the legendarily grumpy service at Xotic, and the K’Rd branch of Satya.

  • JAM

    As a very regular customer, I was left shocked with the response of the man on the phone claiming to be the owner. I still find it hard to believe that this is the owner as no sane business owner can be this self destructive towards their own business…can’t be…must be a disgruntled employee. Having said that here is my experience.

    This restaurant has turned out to be the worst nightmare for a PAYING customer!
    For a simple complaint over the phone, this owner turned out to be a raging bully (serious anger management issues)!!! Yelling on top of his voice, for not following his instructions on how to “make a complaint”, nasty statement in defence to my saying – ” I actually did call the next day but no one attended” and the owner replies by asking “so you were trying to call me in the middle of the night? Because I always addend calls while the restaurant is open!”
    I’m speechless being a lady customer and having been spoken to like that, has just left me stunned!!!
    The story doesn’t end here … I went on to say “look I’m not calling with an intention of a refund, all I’m trying to explain is my past exp. of the food wasn’t that fresh and soaked in oil, hence I’m hoping you ensure the food served this time is up-to mark!”
    The owner went on a raging fit and started to insult me, yelling and not letting me speak and worse then gives an ultimatum, followed up with a hang up!!!

    It almost felt like the moment you step into this restaurant you should salute the tyrant, shut up and eat whatever’s given to you! It’s a shame really, but my weekly to biweekly visits now turn to NEVER AGAIN!