Indian chaat lovers, especially Mumbaikars in London had made peace with the fact that it is nearly impossible to find Mumbai specialties such as vada pav, dabeli, bhel and pav bhaaji that tasted authentic and that were affordable. But that was only until Shree Krishna Vada Pav came along in Hounslow in 2010.
“We started on the 15th of August, 2010 as a small sub-let space on Hounslow High Street,” the owners - Subodh Joshi and Sujay Sohani who have experience in the hospitality sector -- say on the website.
In two years, Shree Krishna Vada Pav became so popular among its regular fans that the owners opened another branch in Harrow, on Station road, in 2012. And, now the vada pav haven in London is looking to expand its services to include South Indian dishes such as dosas.
Opening times: 10am to 8pm everyday. Extended to until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Food: As the name suggests, Shree Krishna specialises in Vada Pav and authentic Mumbai snacks such as Bhel Puri, Dabeli, Pav Bhaaji, green-chutney veg sandwich, Samosa Chaat and so on. The all-vegetarian eating joint also serves special dishes occasionally such as Poha, Sabudana Vada, Sabudana Khichdi. The menu also includes desserts such as Shrikhand and Kulfi, alongside Indian masala chai and chaat dishes.
While there are dozens and dozens of Indian restaurants and cafes in London claiming to serve “authentic chaat”, only Shree Krishna Vada Pav Hounslow and Harrow come close to fulfilling a true Mumbai chaat-lover’s taste-buds at affordable prices.
The restaurant/café is also a treat to nostalgic UK Indians who can buy Gold Spot, Maaza, alphonso mangoes (seasonal), Kokum Sharbat (seasonal), pickles, chutneys and popular Maharashtrian sweets and savouries such as Cornflakes Chivda, Ghavan Pith etc in addition to the regular food.
Prices: One of the best-selling and most popular item on Shree Krishna’s menu is Vada Pav and at £1, it is the cheapest dish. A cup of Chai is priced at 60p, Dabeli is £1.50, Bhel is £2.50, and Pav Bhaaji is £4.00 – you get the idea. The most expensive dish at Shree Krishna Vada Pav is £5 (cheese Pav Bhaaji) – so you can eat to your heart’s content for £5-£6 per person.
Shree Krishna Vada Pav to Mumbai snack lovers is what Saravanaa Bhavan is to Idli-dosa-vada lovers in London – good, authentic food at very affordable prices.
Kailash Parbat in Wembley also serves tasty authentic chaat but Shree Krishna beats it on price points, if you are prepared to overlook the ambience and settle for a fast food joint.
Upside: Good food and reasonable prices are the hallmark of any good restaurant. And Shree Krishna Vada Pav exceeds expectations on both those accounts. To top it, it has a homely, cosy feel to it and the kitchen where food being prepared can be seen.
Downside: Shree Krishna Vada Pav is one of those warm, friendly Indian eating joints which can please you with mouth-watering food and equally appealing prices and polite staff. But it is a fast food joint which is always busy and crowded, so be prepared to queue up a bit. While the food is delivered to your table, orders have to be placed at the counter. The tables are a little crammed too. It is not your ideal place for a quiet, romantic meal but Shree Krishna Vada Pav was never intended to be that.
If you can, avoid Shree Krishna Vada Pav during late afternoons on Saturdays as the place can get extremely crowded and chaotic [see picture].
During its second visit, India News Bulletin had to wait for 20 minutes to get its takeaway order of just four Vada Pavs!
India News Bulletin top tip: Shree Krishna Vada Pav is one of those rare food joints where you cannot really go wrong whatever you order as all the dishes are true to their original recipes. But six classics -- Vada Pav, Dabeli, Misal Pav, Pav Bhaji, Bhajiyas and Bhel Puri can truly transport you to the streets of Mumbai. It is best to stick to the original classics than picking something with a “Schezwan” twist.
Some of India News Bulletin readers also love Poha, Samosa Chaat and Sabudana Khichdi. So keep an eye on “today’s special” offers.
And yes, don’t forget to polish your food down with a cup of hot masala chai!
Our Verdict: Shree Krishna Vada Pav branches in Hounslow and Harrow are both a golden find for chaat and Mumbai street-food lovers.
India News Bulletin pays for its meals and all its restaurant reviews are independent and unbiased.