Having started life in a heritage building along Victoria Street, Chaat Street moved to the corner of Dixon and Willis Street in 2023.
Inside, the more spacious fit-out still features its signature pops of turquoise and reds – bright colours traditionally used by Indian street food vendors to attract potential customers. Vendors line their carts with newspapers, says owner Vaibhav Vishen, who moved to New Zealand from Kashmir in 2013, so the kitchen tabletop features newspapers imported from India.
A chef himself, Vishen has created a space that's unpretentious, simple and welcoming. The menu focuses on Indian and South Asian street food dishes, and while street food vendors in that part of the world might traditionally offer a single dish, Vishen's restaurant aims to be a hub for a variety of dishes from different regions.
Everything is served tapas-style so you can try a bunch of different things – and you won't find a Westernised curry here. While the offering changes regularly, you might order aloo tikki chaat – a potato-heavy dish that's cooked over a skillet and smothered in jaggery-sweetened yoghurt, tamarind, coriander and mint chutney.
The kanti is a popular lamb dish from Kashmir, and Chaat Street’s version is marinated in stages in a laborious eight-to-12-hour process. It’s then braised for three to four hours before being tossed in pickled red onions and tomatoes.
The crowd-favourite non-alcoholic beverage is nimbu pani, a lemonade-like drink with lemon, roasted cumin and vanilla that's sweet, salty and savoury. An eclectic cocktail menu includes a playful bubblegum-flavoured Martini made with vodka, bubblegum syrup and egg white, plus classics such as a Chilli Margarita and Mint Julep.
Phone: (04) 213 6736
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