Butter chicken masala in a slider bun. Abby’s gives the traditional Indian gravy a street-food makeover
Many of us have done it — mopped up that last bit of butter chicken masala with a slice of bread or piece of bun. It is perhaps this nostalgia of flavour, reminding you of the warm comforts of home, that makes Abby’s an ideal snacking joint on a busy workday. Positioned ideally on the bustling CP Ramaswamy Road, the menu of the city’s newest quick-service restaurant serves up local flavours from across the country like the Syrian Mutton Fry or Nawabi Mutton — street food style — in an anglicised version of the pav bun (or sliders as Abby’s calls it) or kathi rolls.
“I prefer street food over gourmet cuisine. Most of the time, even in Chennai, you would find me exploring small dives that promise authentic home-styled, local flavour,” offers Abhyuday Purkayastha. Elaborating on his love for regional taste, the 28-year-old tells us that the idea behind this two-month-old café was to create a quick-eat menu that included flavours otherwise slotted under the main course category at a restaurant. A 300 sq ft joint, which for 20 long years served as an ATM that was non-functional on many occasions, Abhyuday tells us that the space was an ideal choice given that he was looking to create something from scratch. “Bay Leaf (at Gopalapuram) is my family-owned business. And even though I introduced the OTG concepts for the restaurant, I always wanted to work on something that was wholly mine. Hence the name Abby’s.”
As we speak, two sliders arrive along with an additional order of chaat-flavoured potato wafers. True to its name, the Syrian Mutton Fry has the subtle tang from the spicy tomato gravy and sweetness from the caramelised onions and coconut. But, we find it a tad dry. We follow this up with the Rajasthani Laal Maas variant. Juicy and almost melt-in-your-mouth, the best part of this offering isn’t just the filling — it is the home-made, spice-seasoned wheat bun that brings all the flavours together and elevates the dish. If you are looking to partake of the kathi roll selections (with a refined-flour base) we suggest Abhyuday’s favourite Chicken Ghee Roast roll with a generous dollop of creamy kasundi mayo — a pairing that combines the youngster’s Bengali and Mangalorean roots, or the Butter Chicken Roll.
Right in time for summer heat, Abby’s also offers seasonal fruit-based popsicles. Our pick is the strawberry one — especially since we love biting into the textured lolly that is sprinkled with the fruit’s seeds.
Average price for two Rs 400.