It’s a Mexican makeover to Indian street food, presented in soft shell tacos. That and community lies at the heart of Bombay Taco Company
Where does a classic option like chicken tikka roll go next?
That is one among several questions Parth Purandare, the founder and head chef of Bombay Taco Company is in the process of answering. And so far, he seems to be yielding delicious results.
The food here is all about stories, everything has a specific reason and history backing it up. For instance, there’s a reason the seating is what some might consider unorthodox. The low tables and sofas built into the sides aren’t exactly what you’d associate with a sit-down meal.
And it isn’t that at Bombay Taco Company, as far as Chef Parth is concerned. “People inhale tacos in minutes. So I wanted to make a communal, ‘adda-like seating’. Sort of like your morning chaiwala. So people can have conversations about politics, be nosy, listen to others, etc.,” he adds with a chuckle.
This theme of wanting the food and ambience to be about the country and community runs throughout. After 12 years as a chef and a sizable experience on the business end of things, entrepreneurship was the next obvious step. This led to a return to his roots, where Chef Parth reconnected with his mentor Kishor DF.
Thus came Bombay Taco Company, where Mexico’s ‘gift to the world’ is given an Indian facelift. The cosy little space starts in vast contrast to the extensive menu, and there’s a good chance you’re going to love whatever you order!
Straight off the bat, Chef Parth clarifies that tacos are traditionally soft shell. He says, “Hard shell tacos don’t exist, that’s Tex Mex invented by America. Soft shell is tacos as we know it, it’s what is authentic. The flavours are such that nobody feels alienated, with a seasonal and dynamic menu.”
In order to cater to Bombay’s palette and give them a Mexican take on comfort flavours, it took Chef Parth and team three months and several tacos to nail the menu. Up for grabs in plates of 3 are a variety of tacos. Additionally, there’s some corn ribs, crispy sandos, rice options, fries with gravy, and housemade beverages.
We got our plates customised with different taco options, wanting to indulge our gluttonous tendencies to the fullest. There’s a healthy balance of vegetarian and meat options going on, leaving you enough room to play around.
What immediately stood out to us were the Fried Plantain taco, the Cauliflower and Mushroom 65 Taco, and surprisingly, the Kanda Bhajji taco. The Prawn Koliwada taco is a delicious nod to the community, and a punch of flavours. The Steak Chilli Fry Taco is pretty so-so, and the Beetroot Falafel taco is nothing to write home about.
What makes it an interesting menu is of course the sheer number of options. But the carefully thought out flavour combinations and fun dressings make each taco an interesting culinary experience, at the very least.
As far as the sides are concerned, the Corn Ribs won the day for me. Don’t even think twice before ordering the Kolhapuri Laal Thecha Butter option, you won’t regret it. The fries are reminiscent of a rich poutine albeit with crispier fries. We sampled the BTC fries, which come with generous toppings of jalapenos, cheese sauce and hot sauce.
The drinks menu is concise, and that’s being generous. Chef Parth wasn’t looking to emphasise that part on the menu, however, wanting to steer away from typical soda offerings. They offer a home brewed refreshing Pineapple Kombucha, as well as a Lychee Ginger concoction. While certainly fun to drink, it’s not really a must-have unless the tacos leave you parched!
In the spirit of engaging with the community to the fullest, Bombay Taco Company plans to get customers and their recipes featured. The staff will be trained accordingly, and a taco with your name could actually be on the weekly menu. They also plan to support and promote local bakeries in due time.
In an environment where fusion food continues to be frowned upon, Chef Parth and Bombay Taco Company have set out to rectify that image. It’s just a Mexican makeover for flavours of Indian streets.
And if you think about it, there’s plenty of fusion in our heritage too. As the chef points out, the Indian Chinese we’ve grown up with, or the Mughlai with Persian and Uzbek influence stands testament that these marriages do matter.
A crowd comprising a couple on a date, two sisters out for an evening, and a group of mothers and their children hanging at Bombay Taco Company proves it too.