In the last few years, it’s apparent that the global street food trend has well and truly taken Cardiff by storm. Whether it’s tantalising tacos or tapas, blissfully barbecued burgers and buffalo wings, or succulent souvlaki or spider crab rolls (highly recommended), it certainly appears that it is a trend that is set to stay. Thousands of ‘foodies’ flock to the Street Food Circus every year, and Depot offers a permanent, indoor street food venue, where ‘Street Food Social’ now runs every weekend; not to mention the many examples of traders setting up permanent residences throughout the city.
And this is no more evident than when it comes to Indian street food, with eateries such as Bwyta Bwyd Bombai, Chai Street, Chai, Gina’s Cafe and Gourmet Guru clearly cutting a path into the Cardiff food scene.
I was once told that if you truly want to experience Indian cuisine in Mumbai forget the restaurants and head to the street food vendors. While street food is common all over India, Mumbai is renowned for its distinctive street foods and in some cases, credited for developing the mega city’s food culture. Available around the clock and relatively inexpensive, it is noted within India because it eliminates barriers. Whether that is barriers of class, religion or gender, everyone is passionate about street food.
And while as a city Cardiff is a world away from the metropolis of Mumbai, for one, Mumbai has an estimated population of 18.4m, compared to the 3.1m people living in Wales (as a whole!). There is something they both have in common, and that is their enthusiasm and love for food.
A newer addition to the Cardiff street food scene, Bwyta Bwyd Bombai (Welsh for “eating Bombay food”), and also locally known as 3Bs (after all ‘Bwyta Bwyd Bombai’ can be a little difficult to say, as I discovered after a couple of gwydrau o win!), arrived on the scene just over a year ago. Located in the heart of the High Street Arcade in Cardiff city centre, it is an Indian street food café in the truest sense.
With 6 seats outside in the undercover arcade (a blessing in disguise…you can bring authentic Mumbai food to Wales but unfortunately you can’t import the weather!), and 10 seats inside, it is on the ‘cosier’ side of things. However, with ‘cosy’ comes warmth, a relaxing atmosphere and a wonderful vibrant world of comforting, culinary colour and spice.
Inspired by the rich scents and spices of Bombay food sellers, although it officially became ‘Mumbai’ in 1995, the food at 3B’s is just as you would have found it a couple of decades ago on the subcontinent.
With a varied menu, created by owner and Head Chef Sakshi Adkar, you can choose from delicious snacks such as pakoras, bhajis, samosas and puris (from £2-£3.99), to the more filling dosas and cheelas (£3.50-£5.99) or biryanis and thalis (upwards of £7.50). Needless to say with all dishes under £10, there is certainly something to excite your tastebuds and satisfy your palate, while keeping your wallet happy.
Samosa Plate | £3.50
While I could have quite happily ordered a range of the street food snacks on offer (I am quite partial to a vada pav or two), I instead opted for the plate of samosas. Three deep fried crispy and gloriously golden triangular shaped pastry pockets were stuffed full with locally sourced potato and meat, and seasoned with star anise, black pepper and turmeric. Served with a traditional Indian mint and coriander chutney or green/hari chutney, it created a delicious combination of flavours. However with two of us dining, apologies 3B’s if you caught us at a game of ‘rock, paper, scissors’, it was only because I wasn’t going to let the third samosa go without a fight!
Chicken Dosa – £5.99
A large crêpe made with lentils and rice batter, and generously stuffed with a mildly spiced chicken filling, was served with a tomato chutney and spicy sambal. Thin and crispy, and fragrant from the warming spices, it was wonderfully ‘moreish’. A knife and fork were provided, but quite frankly why would you need them! Eating is considered a sensual activity in India, and touch is part of the experience along with the taste and aroma of the food.
Veg Masala Grilled Sandwich – £4.99
While I wasn’t entirely sure in terms of the authenticity of the additional ‘Walkers’ style crisps, the lightly golden grilled sandwich of potato masala, onion, tomato and green chutney, was the epitome of a lunch-time…or breakfast or for that matter late-night snack! And albeit that it wasn’t the most Instagrammable dish, what it lacked in appearance it certainly made up for in taste. Delicately spiced, well seasoned and in no way displaying any level of sogginess from the filling inside, all veggie toasties should taste this good.
Accompanying lunch, was a beautiful glass of authentic Bombay Chai (£1.90). With a heady infusion of cardamom, cinnamon and cloves and served with a sweet melba toast style biscuit, it was fragrant, sweet and creamy.
However, if you prefer a cold drink I know for a fact 3B’s mango lassi is delicious – both beautifully thick and fruity. While additional authentic choices include sharbat (a fruit juice…of sorts) and Nimbu Pani (a type of traditional Indian lime/lemonade).
- While Cardiff has a thriving Indian street food scene, there are a number of distinctive dishes at Bwyta Bwyd Bombai that you won’t necessarily find anywhere else in the city.
- The team at 3Bs are so friendly and passionate about the dishes being served. And while I am sorry that owners Sakshi and Indraneel missed the street food in Mumbai so much when they first arrived in Wales; I am personally ecstatic that they decided to bring their authentic recipes and dishes to Cardiff.
- 3Bs is perfect for both vegetarians and vegans, and many dishes are gluten free.
Would I go again?
I have now got a loyalty card, does that answer the question?
Would I recommend Bwyta Bwyd Bombai?
This was my second trip to Bwyta Bwyd Bombai, having visited shortly after their initial opening. Now celebrating their first birthday, it was truly fantastic and heartwarming to see how well the team are doing. So much so that as I sit here and type, they currently have a seat in the coveted top spot on TripAdvisor for ‘Restaurants in Cardiff’.
Would I recommend 3B’s? If you haven’t tried authentic Mumbai street food, set a course for the High Street Arcade, grab a seat and get ready to transport your mind and tastebuds 4600 miles east.
Mon to Weds 10am-5pm
Thurs to Sat 10am-6pm
Address | 16 High Street Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1BB
Telephone | 029 2037 2352
Web | www.3bscafe.com
Facebook | Bwyta Bwyd Bombai