Swerve the chain cafes that flank the train station and turn your feet to Tawa Kitchen, a newly opened Indian cafe tucked just around the corner on Station Road. Promising to change perceptions of Indian cuisine with its menu of colourful, vibrantly fresh dishes, it’s the brainchild of owner Vilas Patel, who previously ran Cambridge Blue Sandwiches. “I felt there was a market for proper Indian food,” she explains. “Many Indian restaurants in Cambridge are very commercialised – serving up chicken tikka masala and things, but that’s not the kind of food we eat at home. People have got this vision that Indian food is just curry and rice, and that it’s very heavy. I wanted to change that, so we came up with the idea of Tawa, to say – this is the kind of food we eat at home – it’s healthy, it’s not just meat and stodgy food. We’re bringing a different kind of Indian food: a modern place to eat, with an Indian twist.” The name comes from the traditional flat plate on which dishes are cooked, with diners invited to choose a

protein as a base (such as chicken or ‘superfood cauliflower’), adding in roti, rice and salads as they wish. There are also Indian breakfasts, smoothies and more than 15 teas to choose between. As Vilas notes, the concept makes it ideal for a speedy bite during your lunch break or before you hop on a train – which was part of the reason the station area appealed to her. “I’ve been watching this area grow over the last five years, and I think it’s got good potential,” she says. “There are lots of big companies here, and it’s a good location for a lunchtime grab and go, as an alternative to a sandwich. This area has really transformed, and it will be interesting to see what happens over the next two or three years.” When it comes to the future of Tawa Kitchen, Vilas has ambitions to grow the brand through outside

We chat to the people behind three of Cambridge’s most exciting new eateries

catering, as well as a possible expansion beyond Cambridge.

“This is our first branch, but we’d like to expand in the future to different cities, once this is established,” she concludes. “It’s a good concept.”

ISSUE 05 52

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