First off, what is a kati roll? Well, for the uninitiated, a kati roll is a street food item that comes from Kolkata, West Bengal. Its original form was a meat kebab (roasted on an iron skewer) wrapped in a paratha (Indian flatbread) and was known simply as a ‘roll’ before evolving into what it is today. Now, the kati roll, which takes its name from the Bengali reference to the word ‘stick’ (as iron skewers were replaced with bamboo sticks for both practicality and portability), can be anything from chicken, chickpeas, egg, or paneer and is a wildly popular fast food across India.
Now open, new grab-and-go venue Bengal Brothers is bringing India’s kati rolls, along with other street-food inspired bowls, snacks, lassis and drinks (all around $100) to Wan Chai for anyone looking for a quick bite on the go. The shop also offers a click-and-mortar system that enables customers to order ahead and quick self-service for ease and convenience.
Bengal Brother’s kati rolls feature a variety of fillings, from chargrilled meat or vegetables, topped with fresh salad and drizzled with signature handmade chutneys, spice blends, pickled vegetables, or toasted coconut, all rolled into homemade warm and flaky paratha. Their signature kati roll, The BB Classic, is a combination of chicken tikka and freshly beaten egg which is a popular option in India too. Other kati rolls on the menu will also stay true to India’s regional flavours, with a pork kati roll inspired by the southwest, and chickpeas from the northwest.
The new venture is a partnership between Delhi natives Tanvir Bhasin and Vidur Yadav, previously operations manager of Hong Kong favourites New Punjab Club and Rajasthan Rifles, and is a direct result of missing home. The two also wanted to develop something that was not at the extremes of being ultra-high-end or settling for just samosas, butter chicken and naan.
“Vidur and I have devoured kati rolls standing at the bazaar, on the curbside or at a very local eatery,” explains Tanvir. “We look forward to reliving those simple moments of joy and also, sharing them with others.”
“Unable to travel home, we miss the food, the flavours, the hustle and bustle of India, and decided to bring it to Hong Kong in a way that is accessible and convenient to everyone,” says Vidur. “This isn't high flying cuisine, but rather comfort food for the soul. In times like these, we could all do with some soul-nourishing, nostalgia, happy memories and good food. It's our tribute to a dish we grew up with and we are sure it will bring a smile to many people’s faces.”
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Bengal Brothers is now open on 6 Johnston Road, Wan Chai.