Growing up in a family that positively worshipped Indian cinema is one thing that most of us can relate to. And if there's one thing we've all learnt from the endless line of movies we've watched is that India has some of the best street food in the world. Colourful, messy and utterly delectable, Indian cinema worshipped street food and given how we live nowhere close to the country, we had close to no hope of tasting them without leaving the country to do so.
That was until Indian Chaat Corner came into the scene. 3 years after the last time we paid them a visit comes to another chaat place to diversify our options of getting Indian Street food in Colombo; thus we present The Chaat Co.
For a place that serves up street food, The Chaat Co is quite comfortable. We happened to drop in on a day that they were having a photo shoot at the restaurant which meant people walking everywhere carrying thing and looking for the light and plates of gorgeous looking food just lounging on random spaces of tables getting colder by the second. Nevermind that for a bit.
With blue and white patterns adorning much of the space including most of the walls and some parts of the floor, blue and white tables and chairs and a side dedicated to the kitchen where you can see them preparing the food, it was quite nice. Unlike most places of the same genre, this was air-conditioned, and following the genre of food they serve, the place is busy. But, it's probably only because there was a shoot going on. It kinda fits tho.
The menu at The Chaat Co isn't very large and is very vegetarian. Comprising of a range of curries, bite type foods, rice and sweetmeats, it isn't huge. But there's range if not anything else.
Coming under the side of chaat came the Sev Puri (Rs. 250). 6 bite-sized concoctions that can only be termed as the epitome of 'party in a bite' arrived in this one. Seriously though, spanning from sweet to sour to everything in between, it's impossible to describe and is all in all one of the best things you can eat. The base was a tad soggy which made us think that it wasn't as fresh as we would have liked, but it was impossible to really tell with everything that was going on on top of it.
Onion, murukku, pomegranate, coriander, sauce and bunch of other ingredients we had no hope of figuring out what, this was brilliant. Nonetheless, we should warn you that given how much is going on, it's impossible to eat this on your own. Especially if you're gonna be ordering the Dahi Paapdi Chaat as well.
The Dahi Paapdi Chaat (Rs. 270) was very similar to the Sev Puri. Following suit to accompany a multitude of flavours as the prior, the only thing that actually differed between the 2 dishes was the fact that this had a thick covering of very curdy yoghurt on top of it.
While the sev puri gave a more slightly fresh tone, this was a lot more creamy and tangy. If you like the tang of curd, you're going to LOVE this. A definite recommend on our part.
To balance out the excessive amounts of flavours we had just decided to devour, we decided to get a Jeera Rice to kick it down a notch. Coming in as a healthy serving of fluffy white rice tossed in oil and cumin seeds, it was wonderful. With a few sharp kicks a la coriander, the rice really was one of the simpler, nicer dishes we've had in a while. Plus, combined with the Dhal Tadka (Rs. 150) that was proposed by the server, it was superb.
The Dhal Tadka to those of you who are wondering is basically just very tempered dhal curry. With bits of cumin, dried chilli and coriander joining the party, it was one of the nicest dhal curries ever.
This is a horrendous picture of one of the 4 dessert options on the menu. The Malpua with Rabadi (Rs. 200) we found out was an Indian pancake that tasted and felt like a flat konda kavum with a condensed milk-based topping encasing the top. Not too sweet and slightly pulpy, this was lovely. It is a bit hard at the pancake part but the condensed milk part helped a lot.
As for drinks, they don't have a lot. Maybe five or six options, but, nothing more.
Pictured above: Masala Nibu (Left), Masala Tea (Right)
We got the Masala Nibu (rs. 200) and the Masala tea (Rs. 100).
- Taking a turn to a spicy version of lime juice, the Masala Nibu was sharp, tangy and quite refreshing. If you like me like lime and wouldn't mind the thambung hodi vibes it gives, you're gonna love it.
- The Masala Tea took a similar turn. With particularly sharp tinges of cardamon and cloves lacing through the tea, it was quite wonderful. With just the right amount of milk and flavour of tea accompanying the spices, we liked it.
Fast-paced and not all that friendly, the service at The Chaat Co was similar to the other restaurants in the area and we have nothing more to say about it, really.
Our experience at The Chaat Co was a success. The food was brilliant and had very few things to complain about as a whole. And even if we did have anything, the food helps overshadow it. We say go for it!