I guess we’re still not over this obsession with street food. For some reason, there’s a strong attraction to any foodstuff billed as something that you might purchase from a vendor’s cart stationed on a curb in a large urban area someplace in the world. Of course, most of the restaurants that tout street fare are safely ensconced behind brick and mortar facades with the benefit of a fully outfitted professional kitchen. Frankly, I’m looking forward to when the trend is to tout “We specialize in foods commonly presented in full-service restaurants.”
The latest to jump on the street food bandwagon, wagonless as it is, is Bombay Street Kitchen, a rebranding of sorts from a business that used to be called Bombay Cafe and was located about a half a block away.
The menu may indeed have items associated with street vendors – as I recall, so did Bombay Cafe. But the menu here is more extensive than things you’d associate with eating on a curb (good thing, too, since the curb outside if Orange Blossom Trail).
I prefer a full-sized table for the ample portions of curry dishes and the mound of rice that comes with them. The chicken xacuti, for example, the Goan gravy with a mostly mild flavor that also has some spiciness lingering among the coconut, garlic and coriander notes. The hunks of breast meat were large and looked even bigger with the thick sauce clinging to them.
From the list of vegetarian dishes, I chose the aloo gobi mutter rogani, which was meant to feature those three vegetables – potatoes (aloo), gobi (cauliflower) and mutter (or mater, peas) –in a tomato based sauce that was spicier than I’ve experienced from other local Indian restaurants. It was, however, mutterless for some reason. Still, I enjoyed it spooned on a torn piece of onion naan, which unfortunately didn’t have much flavor on its own.
If you want a more walkable type of street food, you may like BSK’s paneer kathi roll, which is oddly listed under the “bigger plates” section of the menu. The menu also calls it a frankie, which is basically the Mumbai version of the Kolkatta kathi (though purists will point out other differences). To give a description from a completely different region, it’s essentially a burrito. It’s a tortilla-like roti with strips of paneer and onions rolled up inside. Eminently portable, and even served in a wrapper made to look like a newspaper, as you’d find from a fish and chips shop. I enjoyed the frankie/kathie as much as anything else I ordered.
Bharwan mirch pakoda was an appetizer of three slender chilies stuffed with a pureed potato mixture, coated in a lentil flour and deep fried. I liked the subtle heat in them, and I enjoyed dipping them into the chutneys, especially the mint. But with so much else to focus on, I could have done without them.
And by the way, all the food here is quite reasonably priced, with most entrees priced in the mid teens or lower.
Bombay Street Kitchen’s building looks as though it once housed a fast-fooder, and records show that it was once a Tijuana Flats before another Indian restaurant, Abhiruchi, occupied it. It has full service and a casual mien. In the center of the room is a street sign with the three words of the restaurant’s name pointing down different imaginary avenues, just to accentuate the street food theme.
I’m only mildly miffed about this street food craze. And in fact, I don’t care how you categorize the food as long as it’s good. And as long as you don’t make me stand out on OBT to eat it.