Food: The spice of life
Founded by Vilas Patel – the Cambridge accountant-turned-foodpreneur who formerly ran sandwich bar Cambridge Blue – all-day cafe Tawa Kitchen promises to “blend the authentic with the inventive to create fresh, healthy and light food with all the unapologetically vivacious flavours of Indian cuisine”.
“Having lived in Cambridge for so many years now, I’ve loved watching the city grow into a buzzing hub for new and exciting independent cafes. The only thing still missing was a fresh take on Indian cuisine,” explains Vilas, who moved to the city 26 years ago and cuts the ribbon on his Station Road cafe on December 2.
“Growing up, home-cooked Indian food has always been central to family life,” he continues. “It’s a source of enjoyment and nourishment, so it always struck me as strange that the dishes served in local Indian restaurants are often ‘guilty pleasures’.
“Tawa is born out of this wish to reinvent and update classic definitions of Indian food. I wanted to share with others the food we eat at home: traditional in origin but with a modern twist. Food that is satisfying, creative, healthy but above all, delicious.”
Inspired by the ayurvedic principle of balance in both body and mind, Tawa’s menu is largely plant-based, with dishes designed to be as nutritious as they are full of flavour; take the zingy salads, such as charred cauliflower and quinoa.
You can watch the hot dishes, which span vegan, vegetarian, meat and fish options, cooked fresh on the tawa, a traditional Indian skillet – tipped to be a top-seller is the tea-steeped chickpea and paneer. There’ll be a chai bar, too, serving blends both classic and quirky.
Planet-friendly practices are core to the operation, with takeaway lunch boxes, bags and coffee cups all plastic-free: they’re made from a biodegradable sugar cane-based material, which composts within 90 days.
“We want customers to experience something a little different,” concludes Vilas, “whether that’s a new chai blend, a dish cooked in front of them on the tawa, or simply a new flavour.”
Tawa Kitchen is at 50/60 Station Road, Cambridge. See tawakitchen.co.uk and follow @TawaCambridge for further details.
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More by this authorAlice Ryan