Street Food. The way to my heart. Pani Puri, Pav Bhaji, Bhajjis, Rolls, Kulfi – you name it and I have a soft spot for it all! There hasn’t been a day that I’ve passed a Pani Puri vendor and not wanted a plate of Puchkas. Not to get morose, but I’ve always said my last meal if on death row, will be chaat and biryani… mutton biryani of course. You can easily suss out the character of a city with the street food that’s on offer. Think of the practical and filling Vada Pav of Mumbai, the steeped in history decadent Nalli Nihari of Delhi, the traditional light Idlis of Chennai and the fuss-free hot Balekai Bajjis of Bangalore. Street food is comforting, tasty, inexpensive and above all woven in our DNA.
Chruch Street Social turned one this month and to celebrate it they have a Street Food Fest till the 31st of March. CSS has always impressed me with their interesting menu, hearty food, bang for the buck pricing and fun presentations. The vast Street Food menu is definitely fun, but above all else they’ve stayed true to the essence of the Street. They just got themselves a #loyalfan in me. Hoping a LOT of these creations make it into the main menu. Sometimes I like to eat my chaat sitting down in an air conditioned room 😛
It was always love at first sight for Goli Sodas. The funky bottle with a collapsed neck that houses a glass marble fascinated me endlessly as a child. The tactics involved in getting that marble to sit just so in the bottle, to form an airtight cap was a miracle to my six year old self. I drank a lot of Goli Soda’s just to figure this out because the vendor never let me keep the bottle. My distress and curiosity heightened when the vendor declined to give me the bottle even when I offered to pay for it! When I finally figured the ‘magic’ out as a teenager, the little bottle slipped out of fancy and slowly out of memory as well. SO, I was literally a giggling child when CSS offered me their version of the Goli Soda. A crate of six contains fun concotions like Masaledaar Vodka Nimbu Pani, Raspberry Cream Soda Vodka, Gin and Ginger Limca, White Rum Rooafja and more. The least fav was the medicinal Rooafja (for obvious reasons) and my top pick was Raspberry Cream Soda. You can order singles – so pick one and get the street food party started.
You might act all hoity-toity in a pub and order cheese and olives to go with your drink, but deep down you know nothing gets you happier that a plate of Bhajjis and Masala Papad with your beer. CSS knows … and they have some Ballistic Bhajjiyas and a perfectly garnished Masala Papad on offer. If you still want to be hoity-toity – they have a Pappadoni. Think pork on a masala papad. It works… and how.
The little carts at the end of a busy shopping street that sell Chicken Kababs, Lollipops and Frawn (Prawn) Fry have a magnetic pull on me. The only reason I haven’t eaten there is because my family has threatened to boycott me if I do! So CSS is a place where I get to indulge my Street food fancy with Dry Fry Chicken Kababs, Prawn Star and Malabar Chicken Lollypops. Don’t tell my family, but the Dry Fry Chicken Kabab was a dead ringer for the one on the street. Just saying.
The Spicy non-veg starters called for something sweet and soothing. The Banarasi Patiyala was the king of cool. A 500 ml glass of Sugarcane Juice spiked with 90 ml (a patiyala peg) of Rum, Malibu or Vodka, depending on your poison. The best bit – they have a sugarcane press on the premises, which ensures your brew is as fresh as it gets!
There is the Samosa. And then there’s the Punjabi Samsosa. A supersized version filled with Potato and Peas – this one is also served with three types of Chutneys and a helping of Chole. There’s some who would make a meal of it at the halwai. I might be one of them 😛
We’re going a little Angraazi now. The Hash Brown Tikki Chaat and the Ham and Cheese Pakoda will attest to that. If you’d just like slightly more desi – the Chilly Cheese Bread Pakoda should do the trick.
While we’re talking about bread – can the Vada Pav be far behind. I recommend you try the Kanda Bhajiya Pav version though. Onion Bhajji’s stuffed between Ladi Pav makes for a moreishly tasty evening snack. Now where the hell is that Kullad Chai?
Possibly my pick for the day, in the chaat section – The Karari Bhindi ki Videshi Chaat. Deep Fried Okra doused with curd, sweet and sour chutneys and topped with sev and pomegranates. Just thinking about it is making me drool. The texture and play of flavours in this chaat was downright amazing. Papdi Chaat just moved down a rung to make way for this beauty.
If you’re still hankering for chaat, you can get yourself a Pani Puri plate. All the elements that make a perfect pani puri laid out on a lovely copper thali. My only grouse – I’d rather be the one eating the pani puri than making it. So I’m still going back to the vendor on the street for this one!
Parathas. Sigh. How can you not order it?? Especially when CSS serves them with homemade white makkhan! While you think a Kheema Paratha with its spicy mince filling doesn’t need any more frills – the makkhan just boosts its sexy quotient. I just ate a bowl of that makkhan with my fingers. I would have used my tongue to lick the bowl as well, but stopped because the waiter was looking at me.
They do a variety of main courses. The Sheek Kebab Wellington sounded all cool and interesting but failed to live up to the hype. The pastry needed a lot of work and I am not accepting a Wellington if the pastry is soggy. The Mutton Biryani Burrito however made me do a double take. Take a burrito, fill it up with a humungous portion of mutton biryani, make sure you get the oil in as well, then wrap it, top with cheese and broil till the cheese is all bubbly and melty. Serve it with some sour cream raita for ultimate food coma. The CSS team are a bunch of evil b#@ards!
They also do a Moilee Seafood Laksa. It works – mainly because our Kerala brethren love their coconut and fish and so does the whole of South East Asia. If rice and curry is your soul food – you might want to end with this.
They tried to be inventive with Desserts – think Gulab Jamun Cheescake, Rasagulla baked Alaska, Old Monk aur Chocolate Samosa. But I ordered the Izzat Ka Falooda (love the name!). A massive serving ice cream, swimming in rose milk and topped with neon coloured tutti fruitti making it a psychedelic circus. I wouldn’t have minded a stronger rose milk flavor – but that’s just my creepy street self talking.
I saved the best for last. A round of Shots. Muticoloured Shots. Multiflavoured Shots. Shots inspired from candy we ate when we were preschoolers. Ah the nostalgia – Mango Bite, Kaccha Aam, Pan Pasand and Ravalgon! Order a jar of 5 or 10 if you want to create a ruckus. Church Street Social – #Banta Hai boss!
Church Street Social
46/1, Opp Emipre Hotel,
Cobalt Buliding, Church Street, Bangalore.
Ph: +91 80 4171 3016
Parking: Valet Available || Cost: Rs. 2000/++ for a large meal for two with drinks