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Why this new homemade food venture packs a punch

Pack-a-Pav, a new food venture that serves homemade mutton shammi kebabs, chicken seekh kebabs and veg shammi kebabs in the good old laadi pav, delivers on flavour and presentation

A leading travel and lifestyle channel has a popular show, Eat Street, which showcases the funkiest food trucks across the US that serve some of the quirkiest dishes. Whenever I watch that programme and see patrons savour the dishes till their last morsel, I often think to myself that one day there will be such funky food trucks in Mumbai too. In the near future, we might also see Pack-a-Pav, a new food venture that serves homemade mutton shammi kebabs, chicken seekh kebabs and veg shammi kebabs in the good old laadi pav have its own food truck.

The Mutton Shammi Kebab in a Pav has  two kebabs, slathered with green chutney and basil dip, in  a pav
The Mutton Shammi Kebab in a Pav has  two kebabs, slathered with green chutney and basil dip, in a pav


Brainchild of Rohan Mangalorkar, co-founder of the popular e-commerce website Propshop24, Pack-a-Pav debuted as a pop-up at the Tapped Craft Beer Festival in Colaba earlier this month. Explaining how he got the idea to replace the humble batata wada (potato patties) with kebabs, he says, “I have always been fascinated by Mohammed Ali Road and the multitude of cuisines available there. I wanted to offer similar fare, but homemade and with a lot of emphasis on hygiene, to people who can’t travel all the way to town.” According to Manglorkar, Pack-a-Pav’s USP are the kebabs, made by his mother in their kitchen, which are served with fried onions, fryums, a homemade basil dip, a coriander, chilli and mint chutney and a red chilli and garlic chutney.

Chicken Seekh Kebab in a Pav and Vegetarian Shammi Kebab
(Left) Chicken Seekh Kebab in a Pav has a predominant garlic flavour (right) Vegetarian Shammi Kebab in a Pav is delicious. pics/ Nikesh Gurav

He also serves a kebab platter, which is essentially all these three fried items, minus the pav. “We are in the process of setting up a separate kitchen at our place in Juhu. I also want to have a food truck soon. But for now, we are focusing on pop-ups to test the market. Eventually, we want to experiment with our dishes and introduce kheema samosa and baida roti in the pav,” adds the foodie, who also plans to serve the dishes in a special baked pav.

I visit Manglorkar’s Bandra residence for a quick tasting. Here’s sunday mid-day’s verdict:

Mutton Shammi Kebabs in a Pav (Rs 170): Firstly, I’m impressed with the packaging. Two kebabs, sprinkled with some onion fries and ensconced in a pav, slathered with the green chutney and white dip are served to me. They are wrapped in a yellow paper and nestled in a white paper box. Fryums, sprinkled with red chilli powder and chaat masala, are served on the side. One bite of the pav and I know instantaneously that the kebab is homemade. With liberal doses of coriander leaves and onions, it is juicy and succulent. The basil dip, made with hung curd, cheese and basil is creamy and compliments the tangy green chutney. Manglorkar also serves me the red chutney but it’s too fiery for my liking.

Chicken Seekh Kebab in a Pav (Rs 150): The chicken kebab boasts of garlic and coriander leaves and is fresh. The onion fries add a crunch to it. But it is not as high on taste as the mutton shammi kebab. This is also because mutton inherently has a smoky flavour that lends itself well to kebabs as compared to chicken, which has slightly bland meat. I enjoy the seekh kebab on its own.

Veg Shammi Kebab in a Pav (Rs 120): This dish is low on oil but high on taste. It has a liberal filling of potatoes that add a lovely creamy filling to the kebab. Coupled with the green chutney, it reminds me of a vegetable cutlet that my mother often rustled up for school picnics. When I have it with the basil dip, it reminds me of an aloo tikki with mayo. Pack-a-Pav is tasty, wholesome and reminiscent of maa ke haath ka khana. If you don’t mind shelling out more money for kebabs in a pav, then it’s definitely worth a try.

Pack-a-Pav will have its next pop-up stall at the Celebrate Bandra Food festival on November 22-23. 
For further details, log on to www.facebook.com/pages/Pack-a-Pav

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