It's not often that we eat street food and are assured of its hygiene. But what if you are, for once? The thought entices me and my fellow diner to head to Street Foods by Punjab Grill at Viviana Mall in Thane. The nearly three-month-old eatery functions on the concept of 'fun dining', as is reflected in the menu. Street Foods offers tikkas, biryanis, pao and rotis among many other dishes.
The soft and tender Chicken Tikka with salad
As we enter the eatery, we are taken in by the décor, done up with brightly-coloured walls, colourful cushion covers and table mats. We look up at the ceiling and cannot help but grin at the overhead hanging lights outlined with tyres.
We order the classic Mojito (Rs 140) and Masala soda (Rs 100). While the Mojito turns out to be a tad sweet, the Masala Soda instantly refreshes us. For starters, we order the Paneer Tikka with Salad (Rs 240) and Chicken Tikka with Salad (Rs 240) and end up liking our first round of orders. The paneer, cooked in grounded mustard to perfection, is deliciously soft and creamy. The chicken pieces in the latter, after being cooked in the eatery's in-house garam masala, are soft, tender and flavoursome.
The main course arrives and we take in the plates of Tawa Soya Keema with Pao (Rs 210), Tawa Keema Chicken with Pao (Rs 280) and Khameeri Roti (Rs 40). The first two dishes are rustled up at the eatery's live counter. My fellow diner and I watch as liberal doses of butter, soya chunks/chicken pieces, cashewnut paste, cinnamon, cloves, red cabbage and onions (for the crunch) garam masala and other spices sizzle on the large tawa.
The casual interiors of Street Foods at Viviana Mall, Thane
The chef squashes the soya chunks (and, later, chicken pieces) with his ladle with flourish, before carefully squeezing a small lime over it and topping it with slices of raw onion. At the table, we are served the dishes with buttered pao. Not used to so much butter in our food, our first thought is that the dishes are a tad too rich for our taste. But once we get past the first few morsels, we begin to enjoy them.
The soya (and the chicken in the non vegetarian dish) mingles with the spices, chillies, lime juice and butter to deliver all out winners. The soya is soft (and that's saying a lot for something like soya) while the chicken is wonderfully cooked. The fluffy Khameeri Roti, made with fermented yeast, is soft and the perfect accompaniment to our main course. We end the meal with Kulfi Rabri Falooda (s 140) and are delighted with our choice. The rich, thick and creamy dessert, made with reduced milk, sugar and falooda, is not overtly sweet.
Street Foods aims to serve diners no-frills food they might have enjoyed as a kid — like kheema pao. On that front, full marks to the eatery.
We cannot rate the experience as it was by invitation
Where: First floor, Viviana Mall, Majiwada, Thane West