I remember the first time I ordered a chicken roll after I first landed in Mumbai from Kolkata. This was at a restaurant called Chiquita in Colaba. I was flummoxed to get a hot dog like bun with a chicken and mayo filling inside. This was as far removed from the kati kabab and paratha rolls of Kolkata as it was possible to get.
Since then I have realised that ‘rolls’ can take many forms in Mumbai. Here are five types of rolls that you find in Mumbai:
Mumbai Chicken Roll
Mumbai has a rich tradition of Irani and Catholic bakeries, where you get these chicken rolls. These consist of hot dog-like untoasted buns with a shredded boiled chicken and sweet mayo filling. You can try out the Irani version at Excelsior Café near Excelsior Cinema and the Catholic bakery version at Hearsch Bakery, Bandra.
This is Mumbai’s answer to Kolkata’s rolls. The difference is that there is a tangy curry mix in the middle instead of the skewered kababs used in Kolkata’s rolls. The many Tibb’s outlets would be the best place to try these. The outlets are franchised out and the taste could differ from place to place. Bandra’s Snack Shack has a Tibb’s outlet.
The Lebanese hummus and meat and chips wrap came into vogue in Mumbai in the mid-2000s. You get them all over now and Maroosh has a good rendition.
Kiosks run by folks like wrap and rolls started the wrap movement in Mumbai. These offered a variety of fillings in wraps to hungry eaters. The biggest name in this field now is the Pune-based Faaso’s.
Kolkata rolls were first introduced to Mumbai by Bhima in Andheri W and the now-defunct Chowringhee Square in Bandra. Hangla outlets across the city offer pretty good Kolkata rolls too. Ask for mutton rolls and for the onion to be fried and no sauces to be put in them for the authentic Kolkata Mughlai experience. Other places to try Kolkata rolls are Feast@East, Boda and Bong Bong.
Kalyan Karmakar authors the popular award winning blog, Finely Chopped and is an authority on the food of Mumbai. His extensive knowledge of the city's food scene has been featured in publications such as Femina, Mumbai Mirror and BCC Good Food. He was one of the founding critics of EazyDiner's Mumbai team.