Food review: Game for a Mumbai Burger with a twist?

Purva Grover /Dubai
purva@khaleejtimes.com Filed on June 23, 2021

Sample from a home-grown eatery in Karama inspired by Indian street food.

How do you convince a Delhiite like yours truly to indulge in a meal, which is typically relished by a Mumbaikar? You remind them of the charm of biting into a street-side dish, which is a complete no-fuss item best consumed as you wait for a cab, get a pair of shoes mended by a cobbler, or even attend a phone call as you sit in your car.

Once the nostalgia sets in, especially in the pandemic when eating at a street shack seems like a dangerous hobby from the past, you present Mumbai’s most loved pao to the foodie in question. That’s how we ended up with a handful of paos from Al Karama’s O’Pao. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the pao with a spicy potato preparation (Pao Bhaji) but well, what’s the big deal about the pao for a snack? Let’s find out.

The first bite had to be of the Vada Pav, the good ol’ classic. The bun was pillowy and soft, the potato dumpling was mild in flavour; it was the layer of mint-coriander chutney on the inside that resulted in a burst of flavours in the mouth. For those who rightfully believe that this classic is not complete without a horn of green chilli, it did come with one. We quite liked the brand stamp on the buns i.e. the paos.

More nostalgia lay in the coloured fryums, which came along with the O'Mutton Khicha Pao, which was stuffed with delectable shredded, slow roasted bites of mutton doused with a desi creamy sauce. Do you enjoy a bit of fusion with the classic? If yes, then you could sample the O'Triple Schezwan Chicken, which interestingly comes with a topping of fried noodles!

It was hot, pungent and delectable pieces of chicken cushioned in a pao. The patty/dumpling/ball (call it by whatever name you please) for all the servings was crispy, golden and non-greasy. For the sides, we went in for the Kanda Bhaji, which disappointed us as it was soaked in oil and even dabbing it with multiple paper napkins didn’t help. The Cheesy Poppers were delectable creamy stuffed jalapeños ideal for a tiny treat. The meal was pocket-friendly and whilst the paos came in simple, hygienic cardboard boxes, the sides came in paper bags, which did spoil the experience a bit.

So, if you are looking for a high on nostalgia, and simply charming meal, then look no further. The varieties in pao are many, with the humble one surprising you with multiple flavours and textures. Now, who would have thought the Vada Pao could give way to meat-stuffed verison and even O’Chilli Cheese Pao!

In short, if you’ve found a series that you wish to binge-watch with a handful of loved ones in the safety of your home during these turbulent times, then support this home-gown eatery. For pardon the cliché, but there is indeed something for everyone in here.

O’Pao Indian Sliders, Al Karama, Dubai

Meal for two, Dh 60

Order 04 3496726 or via food delivery apps


Purva Grover

Purva Grover is a journalist, poetess, playwright, and stage director. She made her debut as an author, with The Trees Told Me So, a collection of short stories. She is the editor of Young Times, a magazine that empowers the youth in the UAE. She conducts fortnightly writing workshops, author interaction events, open mic sessions, etc. for the writing fraternity in UAE. Her stage productions have been recognised for their boldness, honesty, and unique voice. She is backed with a post-graduate degree in mass communication and literature. Born & brought up in colourful-chaotic India, she writes in English and currently resides in Dubai, UAE. You can stalk her on Instagram @purvagr and say hello to her at purvagrover.com


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