Dabbawal has been on our list for places to visit for a very long time, and we’re kicking ourselves for waiting so long. Situated opposite one of our favourite pubs, Bacchus, Dabbawal Street Food is where we decided to spend the last day Dry January. Booking a couple of days in advance, all tables between 6-8pm were already reserved so we went for an early bird meal.
Dabbawal is not like any indian food you’ve ever had before. My only comparable experience would be strolling along Flic en Flac beach in Mauritius eating a Dhal Puri from the little wooden shack parked in the car park of the local supermarket – the authentic flavour combinations were a far cry from your typical Saturday night tikka massala. We went for poppadoms and pickles to start and, much to my delight, they came with a little pot of tamarind pickle (as well as the old favourite mango chutney). Even with my self-professed articulacy, the taste of tamarind is hard to describe but this was heavenly, deliciously sweet and by-far the best way to start this epic meal.
We tend not to go for starters since my eyes are usually significantly larger than my belly, and Craig is currently four weeks into an eight week fight camp, but we couldn’t resist finding out what Dabbawal had to offer after seeing plates and plates of utterly tempting food being delivered to the surrounding tables. I went for the Sweet Potato Chatt, and Craig had a small portion of Chicken Tikka Shashlik. I neglected to take photos of these two dishes, even though they were definitely the highlights of the night. The chicken was tender and melted in your mouth like butter; the sweet potato smothered in a perfect combinations of spices. These dishes only left us wanting more.
For mains, I went all out and got the Dabbawal Grill: chicken tikka, lamb chop, citrus prawn, seekh kebab & salmon tikka. Craig ordered Chicken & Mixed Pepper Jhalfrezi, a chicken-packed bowl of authentic Jhalfrezi sauce with a selection of roasted peppers. The grill proved that the Dabbawal team has infinite knowledge of preparing, cooking and serving various types of meat and seafood in perfectly complementary spice combinations. Craig’s curry was beautiful, and he certainly agreed once he could feel his lips again!
In much need of a cool down, we shared a chocolate fudge cake for dessert. I dare anyone to devour a slice of this badboy to themselves! It was truly decadent (in every sense of the word).
I’m aware of my over-use of the world ‘perfect’ in this review, but I honestly believe there is no other word to describe this meal. It ticked every box for us and we’ve been well-rewarded for stepping out of our Saturday night comfort zone.