Bombay Street Food in Toronto Brings in the Hipsters and the Aunties
Bombay Street Food in Toronto, a spacious and modern venue combines modern architecture with classic tradition, bringing bustling streets of Bombay to Toronto. Located at Bay and College, Bombay Street Food in Toronto is decorated with deep brown chairs circling round tables atop of brown hardwood floor. There is a rustic metallic wall separating the kitchen from the dining area. The walls are adorned with portraits of family and of recent research trips to Mumbai. Overall the restaurant gives off an intimate vibe all while maintaining an open concept.
In 2014, while owners’ Seema and Amreen’s were both working full-time, they realized the lack of options for authentic Indian street food within the GTA, and decided to do something about it. They started with a booth at a local farmer’s market, and it was an overnight success. After the overwhelming support and positive reviews, they decided to test out their food at various food shows in Toronto, including our very own Halal Food Festival. Once they secured a desirable bricks and mortar location, the pair travelled to Mumbai and worked with various street vendors throughout the city to research and perfect their recipes. Bombay Street Food’s recipes are a combination of what they learned from the streets combined with their own mothers’ teachings. Everything on the menu from the chai to the chutneys, are made in house.
The reason why street food is so popular in India is because it provides people with a satisfying, convenient and inexpensive meal. Much like what you would find in the streets on Mumbai, their menu also consists of mains, chaats, desserts and beverages, along with several clever “Mumbai tips”.
First, we had Bhel Puri ($7.95). A popular street food item in Mumbai, it’s made up of puffed rice with chaat, mint, and sweet chutney. A blend of potatoes, onions, and chaat masala covered with coriander and tamarind sauce. The Bhel Puri had a variety of flavours, from sweet and salty, to a hit of spice. It also has a variety of textures from smooth and cool to crunchy and warm.
Next, the waiter recommended the Salli Chicken Bowl ($11.95). The Parsi-style chicken was sweet and sour and topped with crispy potato sticks & coriander. The chicken spice was mild but pleasant, and the crispiness of the potato sticks went well with tender chicken breast. The dish also came with a roti. Each main dish comes with a vegetarian side, and in this case we chose the Dhal ChawaI; basmati rice topped with a thick bright aromatic lentil stew. “We wanted it to taste like how most mothers make it”, Amreen said.
We then tried another popular item, the Beef Keema Pav ($11.95) and a BSF mixed salad as the side. The salad was a colourful dish of fresh vegetables including carrots, onions and cabbage. The Beef Keema Pav looked similar to sliders but with a smooth minced meat, layered with crispy onions, coriander and thin spread of yogurt sauce, served on a warm buttered bun. The beef was tender and had a hint of smokiness to it, blending well with the yogurt sauce. This dish was my personal favourite. The Beef Keema Pav was medium-spicy. If you are not accustomed to spice, we recommend asking for a little more yogurt or pairing it with a Lassi drink.
For the last main, we ordered the Mumbai Veggie Phav ($11.95). It’s sautéed crushed mix vegetables combined with thick potato gravy and tomatoes giving its red colour in medium spicy sauce. It was served with two warm buttered buns. The dish was very flavourful. With this dish, we ordered the gun powder fries as our side. The gunpowder fries are crispy fries dusted in masala and dry coconut chili, making for a very unique flavor. We highly recommend these fries.
What injustice it would have been to leave an Indian restaurant without trying the Mango Lassi ($4.95)? So we tried one. A Lassi is a dairy based drink, made a variety of ways. The Mango Lassi at Bombay Street Food was just right, having the perfect blend of yogurt and mango without being too sweet or too strong. It was the perfect way to end meal full of flavor and spice.
And last but not least, as per Indian custom, we ended our stay by drinking some Chai. We were treated to some Masala Chai with Khari biscuits. The Chai was brewed with milk and cardamom and was smooth & relaxing.
In short, Bombay Street Food in Toronto stays true to its roots by bringing the taste and energy of Mumbai to Toronto. Bombay Street Food is more than just a restaurant; it is cultural experience. They also have programs like Yoga every Saturday mornings and a book club on the last Wednesday of every month. Whether you are a food enthusiast or someone looking for a good bite to eat in Downtown, Bombay Street Food is the place to be. As Amreen remarked, “We get the aunties AND the hipsters!”
Meat Source: All meat is sourced from Iqbal Halal Foods (hand slaughtered source) ** NOTE: meat was checked (verbal assurance) at time of review and can change at anytime – please check meat sources before eating and let us know if there are any discrepancies **
Aamir is a University of Toronto graduate with a degree in Life Sciences. He is currently working at Appletree Medical Group and hopes to further pursue a career in the healthcare field. He began his journey at Halal Foodie as a volunteer at Halal Food Festival in 2013. Aamir’s interest and passion in bringing awareness to Halal food within the Greater Toronto Area, quickly allowed him to expand his role within Halal Foodie. He currently resides in the city of Brampton and still roots for his beloved Maple Leafs. Favourite foods: medium-rare steaks, chicken wings, and mom’s biryani.
Photo Credit: Mahdi Chowdhury
Bombay Street Food in Toronto
828 Bay St.