Metro’s annual list of the Top 100 cafes where you can buy a meal for under $20 is out now in the September issue and its super pleasing to see there are 6 vegetarian cafes among them.
Metro has given my favourite Auckland cafe Mumbai Chaat a special feature – an interview with the owners, Ajit Ambani (manager) and his wife Pratibha who is the chef, and son Gaurang who helps out when he can.
Mumbai Chaat is authentic Indian – well, Mumbai – street food, and hasn’t been adapted to western taste as with so many Indian cafes. It’s strictly lacto vegetarian and vegan. I vividly recall a discussion with a young customer from Mumbai who was working as a chef at a restaurant well north of Auckland; he said that when he wanted real Mumbai food he drove all the way to Mumbai Chaat and stocked up.
The menu is a combination of Indian heritage cooking and some western fusion chaat – don’t expect the pizza to be what you’re familiar with! A good dish to start with is their masala dosa, the thin crispy pancake stuffed with spicy potato, it has to be the best version in Auckland that I know.
Or if you want to try a thali, this is one place where there is a choice of vegetable and dal dishes so don’t hesitate to ask Ajit or Gaurang for advice. Once you find your favourites you’ll want to keep coming back.
Mumbai Chaat is at 1A Kitchener Rd just off Sandringham Rd in the Sandringham Village.
Plus the tiny original cafe at 71 Taylor St, Blockhouse Bay is open part-time; its where Pratibha and her friends do the cooking for both stores.