This upmarket Indian venture is the brainchild of the Sethi family, the sibling restaurateurs behind Michelin-starred Gymkhana and Trishna (not to mention other modish success stories like Bao, Bubbledogs and Lyle’s).
It launched in Battersea at the end of 2016, and landed north of the river late last year. Both the new Swiss Cottage and Islington kitchens feature specials which chuck Chinese seasonings and cooking techniques into the mix along with classic Indian dishes. There’s also an à la carte for takeaway standards like tandoori chicken wings and lamb shank rogan josh.
And what of the name? Well, it’s derived from the affectionate Hindi term for “fat man”, with a nod to the dabbawalas of India, who would traditionally deliver a packed meal for workers across cities in multi-compartmented tiffins.
Our experience overall was positive, with the dishes arriving warm in a stylish recyclable box, despite delivery ending up a slightly irritating twenty minutes later than our requested time. A tip: ask them not to pack unnecessary plastic cutlery unless you absolutely need it; ours went straight into the recycling.
Samosa Chat (£4.75)This is a street classic: a sweet triangular potato and pea samosa sits in textural contrast to rich, spicy chana masala, a Punjabi vegan dish made of chick peas, with the sweet-sour notes of tamarind, and small pieces of sev (deep-fried noodle seasoned with turmeric, cayenne, and ajwain). Scoop it up with crisp and non-greasy poppadoms (£1).
Tadka Dal (£4)Its sunny yellow demeanour is comforting on a sub-zero Tuesday night as the rains and wind rattle outside. The lentils are slow-cooked overnight and tempered with aromatic, slightly bitter cumin seeds and a heady injection of garlic. One to mop up liberally with the fleshy tandoor-roasted semi-blackened naan (£2). A delicious bargain.
Chicken Biryani (£12.50)A meal in itself: here the rice is laced with slow-cooked tender thigh, joyously moist, no mean feat for takeaway chicken. Flavour is upped by caramelised onions and royal cumin, darker and sweeter than the normal variety. A creamy kachumber raita and sweet mango chutney (both £1 extra each) add further luxury – and help insulate us against the elements.