Wellington-born Indian street food restaurant opened its Auckland outpost in 2023.

Co-owner and chef Vaibhav Vishen looked for a place that had a "Wellington kind of vibe", and found what he was looking for in Parnell – at the top end of Parnell Road, fronted by a large Norfolk pine.

The 65-seater restaurant was decorated with creative direction from Vishen’s wife Maanvi Chawla, who’s an architectural conservator and built heritage specialist for Wellington City Council. Like its sibling, Chaat Street Auckland has red and turquoise accents around the window and door frames. There are bright blue school chairs and a mix of smaller and communal tables both inside and out the front under that huge tree.

The everchanging menu centres on Indian street food served tapas-style; “chaat” means “to lick” or “to taste”.

There are dishes from several different regions in India, such as variations of the Delhi staple chole bhature. This comprises leavened yoghurt bread made with overnight-fermented dough that’s deep-fried to puff up like a doughnut. Crunchy on the outside and pillowy on the inside, it’s accompanied by braised spiced chickpeas.

In wanting to create a tactile and interactive experience for his diners, Vishen has dubbed many of the dishes “CIY”, or “chaat it yourself”. Take the keema pav – akin to an Indian sloppy joe. Soft, buttery slider buns are served on the side of slow-braised lamb mince; you assemble it yourself, finishing off with fresh red onion and a squeeze of lemon.

The drinks list keeps it local with a selection of New Zealand wines and craft beers that have been chosen to complement the rich street food flavours. Chaat Street’s take on a classic Chilli Margarita peps up the usual tequila and lemon with Cointreau-soaked Kashmiri red chillies, and the sweet-and-salty nimbu pani is a crowd favourite.

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Updated: November 10th, 2023

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