City Sweet Center - Romford Rd - London
Much thanks to Sharmila for tipping me off to this place. Excellent Gujarati snack shop with very promising looking sweets as well.
I did a pretty extensive Forest Gate walk today in order to scout places while heading to this place. Some other finds will be posted soon-ish. Nothing super exciting; an Anglican church offering mass in Urdu twice a week and a Somali place that allows indoor smoking were my biggest finds. I also discovered a bit of bad news as it seems La Kinoise (very good DRC restaurant on Upton Lane which I went to a bunch of times a while back) has gone out of business. Fredor has also been shuttered for a worryingly long time.
Ok back to City Sweet Center. The prices are very high for the area (2.50 for pani puri, dahi vada, most chaats - most of Green St has the above for a pound) but the quality was impressive. Like Sharmila noted, the red colored chutney which seems to be a tamarind chutney with far more chili than usual is awesome. They put it on everything chaat-wise so it might be a bit OTT, but it's really tasty.
Their dahi vada were very good with perfect texture on the vada and nice spicing on the yogurt/sauce bath that they sit in. Really good panipuri as well; red/brown watered pani puri with way above average papri (I was genuinely wondering if they make their own as all papri seem to be the same with variation coming from how stale they are while these were very different and very crunchy.) Their water was also top notch, though the filling itself as quite humble (simply boiled potato and chickpea and not much of it.) I guess they're letting the water shine as it's very good.
A half kilo of patra (5 quid) was fried up to order and came out still hot and very crispy. This version blew away the one I was eating at the now defunct Gujju place in Fashion Plaza. Again, great accompanying chutney.
They sell some very cool stuff in here such as 2.30 home made Indian pickles and chutneys. I'll try their sweets, snacks and the pickles ASAP.