Skirt steak, fried onion rings and cheese sauce wrapped in paratha (north-Indian flatbread) – it looks like a kebab and tastes like a cheeseburger if it were cooked in a tandoor oven. It’s called a roadie and you can get it at Trunk Road.
The new restaurant is by the team that runs Bang Street, the Surry Hills restaurant doing Bangladeshi street food. While Bang is at the fancier end of street food, Trunk Road is much more literal in style. It serves just three varieties of roadies, chips and drinks, all of which are under $10.
“I guess you could say this is an Indian street food,” says co-owner, Nick Gurney. It’s inspired by – but far from identical to – the kati rolls of Kolkata, a wrap made with skewered meat sold by street vendors. “This is tailored to people's tastes here. They're not traditional,” says Gurney. The other two varieties are butter chicken or marinated then fried paneer cheese. The chips are wedge-thick, crunchy and cut in a curly pig’s tail shape. For an optional $2 they can be doused in curry and cheese.
Order in-house and takeaway at the downstairs counter next to the solid antique fridge. It’s not just decorative – it holds droplet-covered Kingfisher Lager, Indian cola and lemon-lime soda.
The whole venue is full of similar deceptions. The street-level section looks more like a small bar with a nice whiskey selection. “It's inspired by the age-old cafes of India that were opened by Persian migrants in the 19th century,” says Gurney.
Downstairs looks like a mix between a wine cellar and a traditional Italian cafe. “I didn't want a little spot on Oxford Street and to be associated with that kind of strip or offering,” says Gurney. “We wanted a building that looked like it could have been here for a long time.” That way, he says, it’ll be more like an all-day Indian cafe where people can linger, read the paper and have a cuppa.