Brought to us by the incredible people behind Hotel Calcutta, Dabba Wala is the answer to all your Indian street food needs. A long withstanding Indian tradition, the Dabba Wala, or lunch-box boy, would pick up home-cooked meals and then go around delivering them to the men at work. This job has been entrusted to one single family that has developed a system to coordinate the deliveries by area. Inspired by this, Thamer Al-Abduljaleel decided to open up a canteen style eatery that brings us authentic Indian cuisine to-go. From the décor to the style of foods being served, Dabba Wala is an experience that shouldn’t be missed.
With colorful vintage Indian posters, pictures of traditional Dabba Walas and Karrom boards (a South Asian “strike and pocket” table game similar to billiards) as table tops and chairs decorated with colorful string and pompoms, the space exudes character and flair.
You can either drive up to Dabba Wala and get your food to your car, or you can take a seat inside and enjoy the space’s dive feel. So we sat and grabbed some menus and started planning our feast. To start us off, we ordered some Samosas, Okra Fries and Masala Fries. The Samosas were crispy and delicious, filled with potato and peas with a spice kick. As for the Okra Fries, poetry can be written about the brilliantly fried and coated okras and their complex flavor profiles. Then there’s the Masala Fries: Golden French fries lightly dusted with Masala spices, the fries are an absolute hit and perfectly compliment the Kathi Rolls.
From the Tandoor, we went with the Tandoori Chicken with its delicious marinade and it excellently grilled. The Biryani offering was the traditional Chicken Biryani, and this simple dish was big on flavor. Their Butter Chicken and Keema Masala continue to be our favorite go-to curries – and they were fantastic. But the real heroes are the Kathi Rolls and the Dabba Wala original creation, the Naanwich.
The Naanwich, is basically a Naan bread wrap and the one we went with was the incredible Paneer Tikka. The Paneer, a form of cottage cheese, was marinated wonderfully and delicately placed with a light, fresh salad in the Naan which is then rolled into a delectable and ingenious sandwich wrap. As for the Kathi Rolls, we went with the Chicken Malai Tikka Roll, Chicken Tikka Roll and the Lamb Seekh Kebab Roll. As we watched them prep our Kathi Rolls, we were impressed at the level of detail that goes into wrapping each one. From the sauces, the crisp salad and the juicy chicken and tender lamb – every bite into this fully sealed roll was perfection.
Don’t forget to end your meal with a refreshing Mango Lassi or a warming cup of Chai!
Dabba Wala is located in Ardiya Industrial Restaurant Street and is opening soon in Salmiya, Baghdad Street. For enquiries and orders, call 9559 4509 and follow them on Instagram @DabbaWala_kw. Dabba Wala is also available on Talabat.com.