Dec 15, 2020 - Food and Drink

6 things to know about Botiwalla, an Indian street food restaurant now open in Optimist Hall

botiwalla spread

botiwalla spread

Botiwalla, an Indian street food concept from James Beard-nominated chef Meherwan Irani, soft opens December 15 in Optimist Hall.

“My mission with Botiwalla is to bring the streets of India to life — the glowing charcoal sigris, the sizzling meats, the aromas of chaat masala — in the most delicious way possible,” Irani said in a statement. “I want to blow away people’s preconceived notions about what Indian food is and show them what it can be.”

Expect Indian street food inspired by the tea and kabab houses of India.

This will be Botiwalla’s second location; the other is in Atlanta’s Ponce Market location. Botiwalla will take a 2,727 square foot restaurant space located inside Optimist Hall next to Archer Paper Goods.

OK, here are 6 things you need to know about Botiwalla.

(1) Botiwalla lamb burgers are juicy with a satisfying crunch.

Fired up on the sigri grills, which are charcoal-burning and common to North India, these lamb burgers come in a savory pair.

Grilled and seasoned with ginger, cumin and chiles plus some mint and cilantro, the juicy meat on toasted buns lights up your mouth with warm flavor. The burgers are topped with slaw and green chutney, which adds a gratifying creamy crunch to each bite.

botiwalla lamb burgers

(2) You can have your chicken tikka wrapped in hot buttered naan.

Why not combine an Indian chicken favorite with even more delicious, soft and fluffy carbs?

The chicken tikka roll pairs tangy chicken marinated in creamy yogurt, lime juice, spices and chili paste with hot buttery naan that expertly complements the taste of the chicken. No need for a fork, just let the juices drip down your fingers and enjoy.

chicken tikki masala botiwalla charlotte

(3) There are lots of fun snacks.

The chaat menu of finger and snack foods includes the masala smashed potatoes. These crispy fingerlings are seasoned with an ample dose of masala and lime juice and come with a zesty, slightly spicy ketchup.

The “SPDP” puffs are another fun-to-eat snack. These puffed flour crisps are filled with a savory mix of potatoes, cilantro and onion and then topped with chickpea noodles that add a bit of crunch.

botiwalla chaat
botiwalla chaat

(4) Not into meat? No problem.

Botiwalla has a range of vegetarian options for those of you who are not meat eaters.

The tandoori fired veggie kabob — also wrapped in soft, hot naan — is a spicy, flavorful vegetarian option that will fill you up. The roll is filled with wedges of grilled bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms and onions, all of which are marinated in yogurt, lime juice, spice and chili paste. These spicy veggies are then topped with creamy slaw that tempers the spice and balances each bite.

Other vegetarian options include the desi salad with cabbage and cashew (which can also be topped with meat), and the cheesy paneer tikka roll, which features cheese, spices and slaw, and a fluffy naan wrap.

vegetarian option at botiwalla charlotte optimist hall

(5) Looking for some heat? Check out Botiwalla’s hot sauce.

Not for the faint of heart, Botiwalla’s house-made hot sauce provides the fix for the spice lovers of the world. Made with red chilies, garlic, salt and vinegar, this sauce will light up your mouth and send you in search of a boozy slushy.

(6) You can sip on a boozy slushy.

This wine-based fruity frozen beverage is perfect for cooling down after some hot Indian food. It’ll be available about a week into Botiwalla’s opening; it’s waiting on its liquor license.

Other non-alcoholic beverages include: mango lassi, a yogurt-based drink made in house that is a sweet combination of mango and cardamom; pineapple turmeric soda, pineapple and turmeric with fresh lime juice and soda water for a refreshing twist; and lime ricky, mix of raspberry syrup, lime juice and soda water.

sangria slushi at botiwalla
botiwalla mango lassi
Mango lassi.

Hours: During its soft opening, Botiwalla will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Starting this Thursday, it’ll be open regular hours — 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.


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