Get ready to tantalise your taste buds with an authentic Indian street food experience like no other. Chaat Street Auckland is set to take Parnell’s main strip by storm, with its doors set to open Saturday 4 March. Adopting a modern, tapas-style approach to traditional street food, Co-owner and Chef Vaibhav Vishen is proving to Kiwis yet again that flavourful Indian dishes go beyond the dated trope of just another spicy curry, and is serving up mouth-watering dishes in the process.
Everywhere Chaat Street has gone, it has been a hit. In 2021, it became an overnight success at a Visa Wellington on a Plate pop-up, serving 2,000 punters in just two days. One year later, opening as a sit-down restaurant on Te Aro’s Victoria Street, Chaat Street dished up 3,400 burgers to win the covetable Burger Wellington. The champion creation ‘Dabeli’ was like no other — a crispy, spiced potato patty paired with Fix & Fogg’s Smoke and Fire peanut butter, coriander, crispy chickpea noodles and tamarind chutney in a masala butter brioche bun.
Vishen chose Chaat Street’s flagship Auckland location for its rustic character, the fit-out designed to resemble a street food stall in an English-built railway station. Here, the menu takes inspiration from dishes all over India, and there’s something for everyone. Highlights include the Kashmiri Kanti (pan-tossed lamb with tomatoes and Kashmiri chillies served with Kulcha (flatbread)) and Aloo Tikki Chaat (skillet potato stuffed with crunchy lentils alongside yoghurt, zesty tamarind and mint chutneys). Each dish maintains authenticity in flavour through varying spice levels — diners can add heat with green chilli and other condiments as desired, perhaps washing down their meal with a thirst-quenching chilli margarita.
To experience Chaat Street is to immerse yourself in a culture rich in tradition and heritage. Vishen encourages diners to come with an open mind and to try the customary way of eating with their hands for a truly multi-sensory experience. After all, ‘chaat’ is a Hindi word meaning ‘to lick’, the term originating from the street food stalls in Old Delhi where the food spiked with salt (to kill bacteria from the water) was so flavourful that people would end up licking their fingers.
So, whether you’re in the mood for a delectable snack or a thoroughly indulgent dining experience, reserve your table at Chaat Street Auckland here for the chance to experience the best of India in one sitting.
This story was originally published in Denizen Magazine. Click here to read the full article.