Mumbai food: Savour authentic Bengali chaats at this new Carter Road eatery
Kolkata Jhal Mudi
“Bengalis call peanuts 'badam'. They call almonds that, too,” says my dining companion, as we dig into a plate piled high with plump peanuts, onions and spices. This is the Kolkata Badaam Chaat ('90), one of the many dishes whipped up at Carter Road's newest entrant, Chaat Stories.
The stretch is home to eateries selling waffles, shawarmas, ice cream, fudge, popcorn. Into this mix comes the small, unassuming Chaat Stories. It is packed with families, and we hear the sweet twang of Bangla from all sides.
The place, lit up and painted red, has six counters, four of which are on the pavement. There's one making jalebis, another serving chai and a third offering kulfi. We head to the puchka counter. My companion approves of the Kolkata Puchka ('80) -- crumbly puri filled with an aloo mixture, dunked in a paani. It's the paani that stands out for balancing the tangy and spicy flavours. There's also an option of meetha paani, which we find too sweet.
Kolkata Aloo Chaat
The same stall gives us Kolkata Aloo Chaat ('100) -- chunky boiled potato pieces topped with spices -- that leaves us rushing for water. Our taste buds find comfort in the Kolkata Dum Aloo Chaat ('100) with its fiery potato-filled gravy, which we think would taste great with paratha. And the Badaam Chaat is for those who love their peanuts; there's nothing like enjoying it in a plate filled with spices and onions for extra crunch.
The two counters inside are designed like faux street carts, with names of dishes printed in front but with a marble-top meant for cooking. There, we stand and watch our Kolkata Jhal Mudi ('70) being prepared. The Jhal Mudi has puffed rice, onions, peanuts, gram, and mixture of spices but it is the mustard that overpowers, leaving us with a difficult-to-get rid-of aftertaste.
The Kesar Masala Chai ('70) disappoints -- it looks good with saffron strands sprinkled on top, but it hasn't been brewed long enough. The Kolkata Hot Kesar Jalebi ('60 for 60gm) tastes like candy -- it's crunchy, but doesn't have the expected softness when you bite into a jalebi.
Kolkata Dum Aloo Chaat. Pics courtesy/ Yoshita Sengupta
Chaat Stories feels like it could be your local adda. The staff is friendly; they willingly serve you bowls of sweet date chutney, or adjust spices to your taste. Just don't ask them “What's a puchka? You will be glared at and given a biting response: “Paani puri.”
At A-9, Union Park Road, Carter Road, Bandra (W).
Time 4 pm to 12 midnight
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