Hold on, I thought Find My Dine was about celebrating ‘restaurants’. Katiwok is a takeaway, isn’t it?
Well, yes, although there is a small area for eating in. But Katiwok does something unusual, something special.
When owner Niaz lost his mother, he was inspired to preserve and celebrate her cooking. Those familiar flavours of home are so evocative for all of us: and so in 2012 Katiwok was born, moving to the present site in January 2017.
Katiwok was among the first in the area to use the now-ubiquitous term ‘street food’, teaming bold flavours with equally bold branding. Striking colours-fuchsia pinks, lime greens, acid oranges- are still there today, and the flavours are just as distinctive.
Katiwok calls itself Pan Asian but over time it has leant more towards Indo-Nepalese flavours. That’s due to Head Chef Yamuna Gurung and what she learned from her Gurkha grandfather and the all-female kitchen she leads. She has won through to the UK finals of Takeaway Chef of the Year. Twice.
All sides are hand-made here: samosas and spring rolls to crispy dumplings and Nepalese momo soup. You’ll find fried chicken in a tangy sauce, bhajees and fishcakes, but the star turn is those eponymous kati rolls, or ‘frankies’.
Tradition says they originated in 1930s Kolkata, when a British officer thought he was too grand to eat with his fingers in the local style: so the resourceful Nizam restaurant, famous for its kebabs and parathas, put everything in a wrap, with parchment paper at one end to make it easy to hold in one hand.
The most popular rolls include the chicken Mumbai tikka, Afghan chicken, Punjabi lamb and the ‘special’ which wraps flatbread around Malaysian spiced noodles. Vegetarians and vegans have plenty of choice here, too- 4 out of the ten katis are meat-free, with the paneer and spinach and the desi egg and potato perennial favourites.
This is ‘fast food’: Katiwok believes that can still mean a home-cooked taste in a few minutes. There’s also a neat tweak so obvious it’s surprising more don’t do it. You’re given a choice of several heat levels when your meal is cooked, but it comes with both chilli sauce and cooling raita. That means you can further tailor the spicing to your own liking.
Katiwok focuses on doing relatively simple things: but it does them in a way which is never less than interesting.
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