- The Gist: Hardcore Indian street food, with inspiration from Mumbai
- The Chef: Mahesh Raikar
- Location: Intu Lakeside, Essex RM20 2ZP
- Food in 5 foods: Spicy, flavourful, customisable and convenient
- See more: www.bombaystreat.com
How did we get here?
Wrapchic founder Mahesh Raikar is launching a second Indian brand inspired by street food called Bombay Streat.
“Wrapchic is a success, but there are restrictions on what we could do with the brand,” Raikar tells Food Spark. “We couldn’t express the dirty Indian street food element that I had aspirations for, so I thought of creating a secondary brand which I feel would drive the uptake of street food on the UK high street and drive the food scene in the UK.”
While Wrapchic uses a QSR model to create broad appeal, Bombay Streat is decked out in vibrant colours and is more characterful, aligning itself with Bollywood.
“The ethos is to bring lovely Indian Bombay street food into the UK – Bombay being the London of India in the sense of people from India coming and settling and making it their home. They have as a consequence brought the regional cuisine into exposure on the high street in Mumbai,” he explains.
Bombay Streat is debuting in Intu Lakeside as a concept kiosk as part of a test phase, though plans are in place to extend it into shopping centres as well as onto high streets.
What’s different about it?
It’s hardcore Indian street food, according to Raikar, with stronger flavour profiles and dishes that are not yet mainstream over here.
“The UK wants authentic flavours. They don’t want a compromised product – the format can be compromised but not the flavour,” Mahesh comments. “With the likes of Box Park, the food scene in the UK is changing. It’s the right timing, whereas 10 to 15 years ago it wouldn’t be possible.”
As an example, he cites his unusual version of the dosa, which comes as a waffle instead of the more traditional pancake but keeps the flavours authentic.
“Dosa is south Indian and you see that in good Indian restaurants but not necessarily every day,” he adds.
Raikar says that UK consumers are now exposed to spicy foods and are looking for alternatives to bland flavours.
The Bombay Streat eats include triple-layered club sandwiches with onions and chutney, naan wraps and curries like chicken tikka, masala chicken, lamb keema and Bombay potatoes.
Desserts also tend towards the exotic (at least for UK palates) with the likes of rasmalai (balls made from cheese soaked in sweetened, thickened milk), galub jamun (deep-fried dough balls dipped in a sugar syrup), gajar halwa (a carrot-based pudding) and kulfi (traditional Indian ice cream).
The brand is leaning into the plant-based trend: 35% of the menu is vegetarian and the naan wraps are made out of potatoes and peas.
You’ve got to try…
The Bombay Buns. These toasted, buttered baked goods come with a choice of either lamb keema, chicken tikka, aloo tikki, bhaji (similar to a fritter) and samosa.
“It’s the street bun. On the streets of Mumbai, you get a cart that would specialise in one product line like bhaji paav [vegetable curry with a bread roll] and there would be queues 10 streets down,” says Raikar. “We have kept those flavours in and those product lines in, but presented it slightly different to make it convenient to eat. We are not classing our food as QSR but fast casual.”
Sparkie also likes…
Chaat, the savoury Indian snack. It comes as a meal in a container that consists of a filling, a hint of spice and coriander.
Options include bhel puri (puffed rice, vegetables and a tamarind sauce) and samosa. There’s also pani puri (deep-fried bread filled with chickpeas, potato and onion drenched in a herb and spicy water) and sev puri (that bread again, this time stuffed with crispy noodles, potatoes, onion, yoghurt, tamarind and mint chutney).
Other options consist of papdi chaat (fried bread with chickpeas, potatoes and yoghurt) and aloo chaat (deep-fried potatoes with chutney)
Raikar says these items will contain elements that are unfamiliar to most UK consumers.
“Along with the chutney and spice levels, things like the chaat flavour pan puri has ingredients that really probably will be new to the UK market in terms of spices,” he says.
You want to take your Indian street food eating up another notch.