Last weekend I made a new discovery in Dar. Can you imagine a hardcore Indian foodie roaming around looking for good Indian food, and not discovering this place….. Why did’nt anybody tell me this before?
It was a pleasure to meet Mr. Jayen the owner of the Chowpatty, and a privilege to savour the hand picked dishes from this simple Indian food joint, in the heart of Dar es salaam’s mini India – the Hindu Street. Amidst temples and a flurry of other Indian joints, this place is at a location where you cant miss it.
Chowpatty was established in 2011, and believe me, this not so big place is teeming with so many people during the weekends that there is a queue outside. Just seeing that I was quite sure that I am in for a treat of delicious Indian food. This wonderful place catered to only Vegetarian food (no eggs as well).
Mr Jayen was gentleman ready to answer questions about his space, at the same he was constantly on his toes making seating arrangements for customers, greeting in his Gujju style, taking orders and to the extent of serving food himself. All in all, he ensured that every table in the restaurant was well taken care of. That itself showed how passionate he was about this baby!
Once starting his own restaurant business he is a converted foodie and his personal favourite cuisine being Continental. When asked for the dishes he personally loved at Chowpatty he said it were pongal, idli and the thali!
Chowpatty boasts of a varied patronage ranging from local Africans to Europeans and of course all communities of India. I had always thought that place would only be a hit with the wide Gujju community in Dar. A look at the menu showed that they had a great variety to offer – Continental, Indo Chinese, Punjabi, south Indian and of course Gujarati.
During afternoons its a hit with office going crowd who want to grab some homemade thali serving great tasting simple food, especially hot selling is the Gujarati kathiawadi thaali.
We were seated very promptly despite the rush, and soon offered a delicious drink of sweet lassi and chaach. The sweet lassi was appropriately sweet, and not too thick ,the yoghurt fresh! I liked it. The chaach was seasoned well and very light and refreshing.
Soon a plate of Schezwan fingers were served. They were fresh, crispy crunchy and full of the goodness of vegetables. You could have any kid eat those vegetables happily. The sauce served with it was also a treat.
Next came a plate of dahi puri. I have had dahi puris at other Indian joints but believe me this was the best out of them all. The combination of chutneys was perfect which is usually where I feel let down usually, as you dont get the real burst of flavours if this goes wrong. So it was great start for us.
The main course was served with a plate of soft fluffy idlis with piping hot sambar and three variety of chutneys. Next came the vegetable patiala and paneer lababdar, hand in hand with naans .
Now this vegetable patiala was a incredible looking dish. It was a medley of two gravies separated with a rolled papad in between. Red gravy was a lip smacking paneer butter masala and the green was the vegetable hyderabadi. Both the dishes were an awesome contrast while the butter masala was bursting with flavours the hyderabadi was subtle and a delectable addition of cheese to the gravy which made it very creamy, cheesy and delicious. The rolled papad had a surprise element of finely chopped vegetables in a schezwan sauce.
The paneer lababdar was also delicious with a chunky tomato onion gravy and soft creamy paneer.
To mop up all this were some great butter naans which were soft and not stretchy or doughy, but really good naans and some simple boiled rice.
All in all, we had a great great meal.
Mr. Jayen and his brother had a vision to provide great tasting 100% vegetarian food at incredibly great rates, which truly they have achieved. Their’s truly is the best 100% vegetarian restaurant in the whole of Dar.
Congratulations to Chowpatty for the incredibly good food, and I hope to drop in more often to make up for the lost time