Taste Test: Chicken Shawarma

May 28, 2010 2:26 pm by

Clockwise from top left: Shawarmas from Modern Juice Centre, Maroosh, Tezz and Piccadilly.

There may soon come a time when the shawarma will rate second only to the vada pao in popularity on Mumbai’s streets. The Middle East’s celebrated street snack is widely available in the city, with shawarma vendors setting up kiosks wherever space permits, sometimes (as on Carter Road) with as many as four within a couple of blocks. We sought out the shawarma that came closest to duplicating the original flavours. The results:

Donald House, Colaba Causeway, opposite Electric House. Tel: 2282 3217
Price: Rs70
Ingredients: Chicken, cabbage, tomatoes, aioli, lime.
Verdict: Piccadilly offers seven variations of shawarma, each with a modified name and moderately tweaked ingredients. Their chicken Spaniol (we missed the Spanish inspiration if any) is an inauthentic shawarma with chunks of roast chicken rather than finely sliced meat. This is a no-fuss wrap with shredded cabbage and a watered down aioli (a garlic mayo sauce) sprinkled generously with lime. ★★☆☆☆

Tana Kutir Building, Shop No.3, between 18th Road and 17th Road, Khar Danda, near Neelam store. Tel: 6529 0303
Price: Rs70
Ingredients: Chicken, aioli, French fries, pickled beets, chilli sauce, lime.
Verdict: This hole-in-the-wall restaurant has probably survived on the strength of its shawarma, in which the cook has invested great thought and a liberal amount of olive oil. The chicken is perfectly cooked, seasoned with pepper, drenched with lime, wrapped in soft pita and served with creamy garlic sauce. You would do well to skip the stale fries however, and maybe, take one for the road. ★★★★☆

PVR Food Court, Phoenix Mills, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel. Tel: 97691 09971. Also at Inorbit Mall Food Court, second floor, Malad (West). Tel: 97691 09976
Price: Rs89
Ingredients: Chicken, garlic sauce, chilli sauce, cabbage, salad leaves, French fries.
Verdict: This kiosk offers a chicken shawarma with a distinctly piquant taste. The tangy chilly and garlic sauce further distinguishes the wrap that’s garnished with coriander. On the down side, the tartness lingers in your mouth for a while. ★★★☆☆

Near Radio Club, Arthur Bunder Road, opposite Gulf Hotel, Colaba. Tel: 2281 2457
Price: Rs60
Ingredients: Chicken, French fries, pickled beet, cabbage and mayonnaise.
Verdict: This juice centre has won fans for its shawarma but the wrap left us underwhelmed. The chicken is fairly standard, but the pita not quite. The meat is wrapped in a thick, greasy paratha that is slathered with bland, bottled mayo. ★★☆☆☆

Near Cafe Coffee Day, Opposite Ajanta Ellora building, 388 Carter Road, Khar (West). Tel: 2600 5584. Also at Phoenix Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel. Tel: 93213 31112
Price: Rs110
Ingredients: Chicken, hummus, pickled beets and chilly, French fries and aioli.
Verdict: There’s seldom a quiet moment at Maroosh, owing to the appeal of its succulent shawarma, which stands out as much for the hummus (made in house) as for the chicken. The pita is slathered with fluffy aioli (which, as it should be, is more parts garlic than mayonnaise) that complements the roast chicken perfectly. Before they lay on the hummus, Maroosh spikes this wrap with hot sauce and a pickled chilli that add an extra sharpness to the delectable wrap. ★★★★☆