I was keen to try this new vegetarian Indian restaurant that I discovered in my recent excursions to the Sandringham shops. I love the food of Southern India and in particular the snacks or “chaat” – the restaurant is owned by the Ambani family who immigrated from there. The Sandringham outlet is their second. Their first location is in Blockhouse Bay at 71 Taylor Street. Mumbai Chaat has only been open in Sandringham for one month, and has that brand-new appearance.
On a Tuesday lunchtime the restaurant was quiet, which meant that Gaurang Ambani had time to explain the menu offerings to us. We wanted to try a couple of dishes and just had to order the Dahi Puri when Gaurang commented that their chaat are the best in town. We also ordered masala soda ($3.50) to drink – a tall glass of lemon syrup topped up with club soda and masala spice mixed through the drink. Different but okay – probably more of an acquired taste.
When the Dahi Puri arrived we were totally impressed – six pieces of small crunchy pastry shells filled with vegetables and topped with tamarind sauce. These were some of the best I have ever tasted. If the other chaat on the menu are of similar standard then Gaurang’s claim is correct. My friend and I dived into the Dahi Puri and could have easily made a meal of them. Another time I would order the Maharaja Chaat Platter ($15) so that I could taste a variety of street food.
Next came our lunch-time meals – the Mini Lunch of two roti, vegetable curry, rice, and on this day, a yoghurt and chickpea flour soup ($8.50) and the Vegetable Pulao (rice pilaf) with Kadhi/Raita ($8.50).
The Vegetable Pulao was probably our favourite. It came as a large serving of pulao on a platter with the same soup as the Mini Lunch which we spooned on the rice as we ate it. The eggplant curry in the Mini Lunch was good but a little over our personal spice limits.
The Maharaja Thali ($18) with its variety of dishes would also make a good meal to share for lunch – or a feast for one!
I was tempted by the carrot halva in the display cabinet, but Gaurang gave us a complimentary wrapped homemade sweet at the end of our meal.
Mumbai Chaat is the perfect place to come for an Indian meal with a difference in a pleasant but simple environment. It is also the perfect place for vegetarians and vegans. Even those with a more conservative palate are catered for – vegetarian pizzas and vegetarian burgers are also on the menu!