R. D. Dabeli - Revisiting the Green St chaat/snack scene
I posted about the immense number of excellent South Asian snack places within my local area a few months ago. Unfortunately since that post was written I lost a really good Gujarati snack shop in Fashion Plaza, Khana Khazana has changed considerably, the only decent samosa chaat place went under, and so on. Thankfully R.D. Dabeli survived this period, though that probably happened more due to its wildy popular "puff" rather than its namesake dabeli.
My favorite items here are the dabeli, vada pav and pani puri. The bhel is very hit and miss due to the occasionally stale ingredients and the puff are alright, but I don't 100% see the appeal. This place moved from a tiny stall in an indoor mall to its new location on Plashet Road and they seem to keep upping their game.
The pani puri are very good, the dabeli paste now has pomegranate seeds interspersed within it and so on. It keeps getting better and though they don't need anymore business I thought they could use some credit on here. The last post on them never really took off.
Pictured is the old location and the vada pav
Pre-dinner snacks at R. D. Dabeli last night, with the irrepressible JFores as our local food guide:
- Dabeli: soft bun smeared with a thick spiced potato mash, sprinkled with crisp, squiggly sev noodles, chopped coriander, roasted nuts and chutney. The only missing ingredient was the pomegranate, which I guess is out of season here in the UK. There were two versions available here: second one incorporated crisp puri shells into the sandwich filling for an added crunch.
The light bun sandwiches were slightly warmed in a sandwich toaster, before being served with a small dollop of tomato ketchup on the side. The condiment seemed innocuous, but actually provided an essential taste dimension to the bland-ish snack.
- Panipuri (also known as the golgappa in Northern India): little crispy, hollow spherical pastry shells, which the server used her thumb to break a small hole on top of each shell, filling them with mashed lentils-potatoes-chickpeas, chopped raw onions and green coriander, before topping up with spiced, tamarind-flavoured water. The version here had less of a flavour punch compared to those I’d had in India or back in Singapore. The pastry shells were also not as crisp.
To have a truly *real* memorable panipuri – one has to actually fly half way round the world to try the vodka-injected version at Punjabi by Nature in India. Or maybe one can smuggle in some vodka in a small canteen to spike our Upton Park panipuris.
R. D. Dabeli
176 Plashet Road
London, E13 0QT
Tel: +44 79 5655 0004