Botiwalla, an Indian street food concept from James Beard-nominated chef Meherwan Irani, will open in Optimist Hall this coming fall.
“My mission with Botiwalla is to bring the streets of India to life — the glowing charcoal sigris, the sizzling meats, the aromas of chaat masala — in the most delicious way possible,” said Irani. “I want to blow away people’s preconceived notions about what Indian food is and show them what it can be.” Expect Indian street food inspired by the tea and kabab houses of India.
This will be Botiwalla’s third location (we shot the food photos below at their Atlanta’s Ponce Market location).
Botiwalla will take a 2,727 square foot restaurant space located inside Optimist Hall, a 147,000-square-foot redevelopment of a former mill near Uptown that’ll feature a food hall, retail, restaurants, brewery, fancy cocktail bar and creative office space.
OK, here are eight things you need to know about Botiwalla.
(1) Botiwalla lamb burgers are juicy with a satisfying crunch
Fired up on the sigri grills, which are charcoal-burning and common to North India, these lamb burgers come in a savory pair.
Grilled and seasoned with ginger, cumin and chiles plus some mint and cilantro, the juicy meat on toasted buns lights up your mouth with warm flavor. The burgers are topped with slaw and green chutney, which adds a gratifying creamy crunch to each bite.
(2) You can have your chicken tikka wrapped in hot buttered naan
Why not combine an Indian chicken favorite with even more delicious, soft and fluffy carbs?
The “Chicken Tikka Roll” pairs tangy chicken marinated in creamy yogurt, lime juice, spices and chili paste with hot buttery naan that expertly complements the taste of the chicken. No need for a fork, just let the juices drip down your fingers and enjoy.
(3) There are lots of fun snacks to kick of the meal
The “Chaat” menu of finger and snack foods includes several finger-licking-good bites.
The “Masala Smashed Potatoes” are a salty staple; these crispy fingerlings are seasoned with an ample dose of masala and lime juice and come with a zesty, slightly spicy ketchup.
The “SPDP” puffs are another fun-to-eat snack. These puffed flour crisps are filled with a savory mix of potatoes, cilantro and onion and then topped with chickpea noodles that add a bit of crunch. These are topped with yogurt and chutney and are the perfect (large) mouthful.
(4) Botiwalla’s ribs fall off the bone and melt in your mouth
Botiwalla’s “Tamarind Glazed Spare Ribs” feature pork ribs braised with garlic, ginger and soy and are glazed with a sticky sauce made of tamarind and ginger. These are then accented with scallions and sesame seeds. They’re not only fun to eat, but you’ll find yourself licking the tasty sauce off of your fingers.
The tender meat melts in your mouth and pairs well with the accompanying sides — creamy desi slaw and soft, buttery naan.
(5) Not into meat? No problem
Botiwalla has a range of vegetarian options for those of you who are not meat eaters.
The “Tandoori Fired Veggie Kabob” — also wrapped in soft, hot naan — is a spicy, flavorful vegetarian option that will also fill you up. The roll is filled with wedges of grilled bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms and onions, all of which are marinated in yogurt, lime juice, spice and chili paste. These spicy veggies are then topped with creamy slaw that tempers the spice and balances each bite.
Other vegetarian options include the “Desi Salad” with cabbage and cashew (which can also be topped with meat), and the cheesy “Paneer Tikka Roll,” which features cheese, spices and slaw, and a fluffy naan wrap.
(6) Looking for some heat? Check out Botiwalla’s hot sauce
Not for the faint of heart, Botiwalla’s house-made hot sauce provides the fix for the spice lovers of the world. Made with red chilies, garlic, salt and vinegar, this sauce will light up your mouth and send you in search of a boozy slushy.
(7) You can sip on a boozy white sangria slushy
This wine-based fruity frozen beverage is perfect for those hot summer nights and for cooling down after some hot Indian food.
Other unique non-alcoholic beverages include: “Mango Lassi,” a yogurt-based drink made in house that is a sweet combination of mango and cardamom; “Pineapple Turmeric Soda,” pineapple and turmeric with fresh lime juice and soda water for a refreshing twist; and “Lime Ricky,” mix of raspberry syrup, lime juice and soda water.
(8) Botiwalla offers interesting ice cream flavors
Have you ever tried “Heartbeat Rose Petal” ice cream? “Mango Lassi”? “Strawberry Malai” or “Badam Milk”?
These unique flavors come in portable single serving cups ($3.99) — ideal for taking to-go after a large meal. The flavors are unusual but delicious.