Toronto popup Bombay Street Food is opening a restaurant on Bay Street


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Construction is currently underway at 828 Bay St. for Bombay Street Food's first restaurant.

Image: Suresh Doss

Former Market 707 vendor and regular farmer's market popup Bombay Street Food has found a space on Bay Street for their first restaurant.

Sisters-in-law Amreen and Seema Omar have spent nearly two years on the popup circuit bringing the flavours of Indian street food to various farmers' markets and events in Toronto. They've hosted a popup dinner at The Depanneur, have regularly set up at the East York Farmer's Market, and were recently a vendor at the inaugural Toronto Food and Wine Show. With the popups Amreen and Seema have served a variety of traditional-style street foods, inspired by their upbringing and travels through India.

 
The popup's popular Kheema Pav: spicy ground beef served with a pav bun

 

After two successful years of touring, they decided it was time to open a brick-and-mortar business. "It's been a long search, an we finally found a place that we like," Amreen said. The address is 828 Bay St. just north of College St in the former What A Bagel spot. "We're currently in construction mode and hope to open sometime in March."

The restaurant will allow Amreen and Seema to further expand on their recent travels through Mumbai. "This restaurant will help us put a real focus on authentic Mumbai street food," Seema said. "We've got a menu already, and we're tweaking it." 

The menu looks very promising, there are a few types of pavs (bun sandwiches): stuffed with ground beef, spices and yoghurt or deep fried seasoned potato fritters and chutney. Or eggplant fritters sandwiched with a kachumber (Indian salad) of vine ripened tomatoes, cucumber and red onions. 

 
Chicken Frankie: chicken curry with egg and herbs in house-made roti

 

The owners built the menu using recipes from travels and from family. They're tweaking a Masala Haddock main to include fish marinated in a masala and topped with kachumber and a dish called the "Salli Chicken Bowl" which is a Parsi chicken curry topped with crisped potato sticks. "This is our answer to butter chickenÈ the menu states. The dish pays hommage to the Persian Zoroastrians (Parsi) population that emigrated to Gujarat India between the 8th and 10th century to avoid persecution. Mumbai's street food scene is richly influenced by Parsi cooking and the owners wanted to reflect that.

"Irani-style cafes are legendary in Mumbai," Seema says. The influence is obvious in their menu especially with the selection of Chai teas that will be offered. "This is the drink that keeps the city on the go," they said of the famous Masala (milk and cardamom) and Adrak (milk, ginger, spices) chai tea drinks. 

There isn't a lot of room at the address, the owners are planning for 40 seats, plus a takeout area. It will be open for lunch and dinner

Bombay Street Food will open their shop at 828 Bay St. sometime in March 2016.

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Suresh Doss is resident food and drink writer and associate web editor at Post City Magazines. In addition to covering the culinary scene, Suresh regularly hosts food events across the GTHA. You can follow him on Twitter (@spotlightcity) or Instagram (@suresh) or email him at sureshdoss@postcity.com.

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