While Covent Garden is full to the brim with those proffering pre-theatre menus, we were reluctant to get bogged down into the 2-course overpriced special and instead opted to pop over to Masala Zone.
While a chain establishment, this should by no means put you off.
Each of the restaurants is decorated in a slightly different fashion – and this one has to be my favourite. Dolls from Rajasthan adorn the ceiling and make for a vibrant impact upon entering.
We’ve opted today to order off the Street food menu – and we’ve picked a medley to share. Samosa chaat, Gol Gappa and Pav Bhaaji.
Samosa chaat is reasonably easy to explain so let’s start with that. Samosas stuffed with curries chick peas topped with yoghurt and mint & Tamarind chutney. This was surprisingly spicy even for these Indian tastebuds but very filling and a very adequate meal!Pav Bhaji is a dish that is a particular favourite of mine – it’s essentially a potato based with mixed vegetables curry served with toasted buttery buns. Strange it may seem, but this dish is a popular snack and when garnished with lemon and plentiful chopped onion, packs a punch.
This final dish probably requires a bit of explaining. A friend of mine refers to it as crispy shells with cold mint water and while that description is not flattering, it is fairly accurate. Not to be tried for the faint hearted.
It can be referred to as Gol Gappa or Pani Puri and it is my favourite Indian food of all time. Ever.
The shells were a little stale which was disappointing but the liquid (pani) was sublime and I could have just drunk that down on it’s own.
Although for the sake of accuracy, this is not quite a savoury Lassi – it’s known as a Chaas (or Chach) and is a bit lighter than a traditional Lassi with less fat and includes salt, cumin seeds, fresh coriander and even a bit of ginger on occasion.
So there you have it, your very (brief) introduction to Indian street food told through the eyes of a high street chain. A great place to come to experience the taste of some of the best street food around.