Karachi Sweets (Bandra, Mumbai)

It was a doctor who led me to this wonderful gem of a place in a little side street of Hill Road in Bandra. Admittedly, I was a little surprised by the suggestion as Pani Puri is up there with the most lethal street foods known to man. I even see newspapers alleging that the more insalubrious Pani Puri stands are using toilet water as part of the mix! However given the sterilised, germ-free environment that doctors inhabit these days and trusting her noble intentions, I took comfort that I wouldn’t be left seeking further medical advice after a trip to Karachi Sweets.

In this open air spot, there’s one gentlemen who works day and night manning the Pani Puri stand like his life depends upon it. He works diligently like a machine, varying the pace according to the crowds and the urgency of his customers. Normally, I indulge in a little chatter. He reminds me of the Masterchef Australia Judge who came to visit and enquires about the countless number of friends I have taken to eat here before.

This time around is long overdue. The Pani Puri (50 INR a plate) is as excellent as ever. The freshness of the water ( I presume filtered, maybe even bottle) is noticeable, and the sweet and spicy water exquisite. The ragda – that old Mumbaikar favourite – is again fresh and substantial. The gentleman does also accommodate requests, for example, my bold request for an extra spicy Pani Puri, for which he scurried into the storage room for some fresh green chillies!

The Mithai are an equal pleasure. The Motichoor Ladoo is perhaps the softest I have tried and on this occasion, the owner serves up some complimentary Jalebi which have that classic crisp outer layer, followed by a dreamy sugar explosion in the centre.

Karachi Sweets is without doubt the connoisseur’s version of ELCO (also on Hill Road). It’s the real deal for street foods and deserves all the accolades it can get.

If there’s one morale from this story: always trust the doctor!

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