The Big Apple, it turns out, can’t get enough of vada pao. Farmer’s markets in Brooklyn are full of hungry hipsters chattering about indie bands and quinoa burgers while they wait for their chutneysmacked piece of Mumbai in a bun. At Indian restaurants in Queens, our counterparts at Time Out New York tell us, skinny boys in skinny jeans slurping skinny lassis shell out $9 for a plate of “deep-fried potato balls with licks of traffic-light coloured chilli sauce”.
So in a sense, Mumbai’s hipsters are simply returning the favour with their adoration of the New York bagel. They now have another establishment apart from The Bagel Shop, where they may pay their respects to the bread. Bagelwala! (ironically located off Queens Market), could have given the Bagel Shop a run for its money if only the space it occupied was larger. The café, with its illustrated walls, eco-friendly cutlery (made of recycled sugarcane fibre) and shelf of weathered novels and travel guides, is just the sort of place that quirk-loving Bandra is likely to adopt. But the matchbox-sized outlet has only a couple of twoseater tables downstairs, and two more in the cramped loft upstairs.
Scrawled on the Bagelwala!’s blackboard wall are the café’s offerings of poppy, herb cinnamon and everything bagels with “schmeahs” like cream cheese, avocado and banana-peanut butter. Ravenous from our time spent finding the place (right from Tawa, then take the first left and the first right), we got the everything bagel with cream cheese, a more substantial (and generously stacked) ham and Swiss cheese bagel with a side of crispy bacon (there was bacon in the air, we couldn’t help ourselves) and a mojito cooler.
Our meal was mostly satisfying, save for the Caesar salad, which was smothered in mayonnaise. As for the bread, a bagel is meant to be dense and slightly chewy, a texture that’s achieved by broiling the dough before it’s baked. Bagelwala!’s bread, we felt was a tad chewy, especially if it wasn’t toasted. It wouldn’t stop us from going back for a bagel and a cup of Malabar coffee but we’re not as easily offended by bagels as some local Noo-Yawkers we’ve encountered. Come to think of it, we’d be pretty miffed if we had to spend R500 for a vada pao that wasn’t perfect.
|Herbed bagel with cream cheese||R120.00|
|Ham and cheese bagel||R220.00|
|Chicken Caesar salad||R180.00|
Total (incl taxes)
By Neha Sumitran on August 31 2012 7.12am