Bengal Brothers: The Kati Rolls Bringing Kolkata to Wan Chai

Bengal Brothers: The Kati Rolls Bringing Kolkata to Wanchai

Bengal Brothers is the first quick pit-stop diner in Hong Kong to ingratiate oneself with the flaky and buttery West Bengal creation of the kati roll – a streetside snack of skewer-roasted kebab meats hugged in paratha bread – that enjoys supreme fame across the subcontinent.

Opening in July 2021, the tram-side grab-and-go venue in Wanchai ushered customers during the hot summer with an introduction of the 90-year-old kati roll, originally hailing from street vendors in Kolkata.

The street diner is a brotherly partnership between Delhi natives and former-Black Sheep Vidur Yadav and Tanvir Bhasin, who sought to import the kebab-comfort food as a challenge to Hong Kong tastebuds.

Venue

The brothers creating the classic Bengal treat curated their Wan Chai space as a tribute to nostalgic tram-side Kolkata dining with friends, manning a wrapped kati roll in one hand, mango lassi in another, resting in the sun over beer cratons.

Light blues and pinks paint the walls and storefront of Bengal Brothers – a nostalgic reminder of the playful colours of street vendors across India, whilst the gold and wooden framing of the venue recreate India’s train ticketing booth often positioned besides street vendors selling rolls.

Bengal Brothers caters to the lunch-time crowds salivating for a quick bite and a steadfast return to the office or a lounge in the sun holding a Bira 91 craft beer and a kati roll.

Food and drink 

Bengal Brothers’ menu is a tightknit collection of chicken, beef, paneer, chickpea, and veggie kati rolls, “first-class” rice bowls, spicy and tangy street snacks, and homemade coolers, including their addictive Fresh Mago Lassi (HK$55).

I began my feast at Bengal Brothers with the Sweet Potato Chaat (HK$50), a Vidur-approved recommendation, a colourful mix of roast sweet potato chunks, dressed in mint chutney, homemade yoghurt, crunchy noodles, and rich pomegranates.

The chaat stands for a colourful exploration of crunch versus juicy soft bites and sweet versus sour, tangy flavours. The earthy potato bites work well in tandem with the noodles to offer an opposing crunchy texture, the mild spice of the chutney is matched with the sweetness and cream of the yoghurt, whilst the pomegranates colour the dish and burst with flavour in your mouth.

Next up, I tucked into the golden Gunpowder Fries (HK$40), a handful-serving of golden fries dusted with Bengal Brothers’ house-made spice mix, including tamarind, chilli, paprika, and sugar for a kick!

Like every item on the menu, the fries are no different, offering a playful opposing flavour combo – tingling spice on the first bite and contact with the tongue, followed by a pleasant tinge of sweetness. They make a perfect shared side dish with a mate on a lunch-date. Be aware, they are addictive.

A trip to Bengal Brothers would not be complete – in the considered words of Vidur – without tasting the Kerala Fried Chicken (HK$60), a side of unbelievably juicy chicken strips battered in rice flour and seasoned with curry leaf, ginger, and green chilli.

Chicken is sometimes hard to cook and retain a final product that is juicy and penetrated by the seasoned coating, but this BB chicken is...and it’s unreal. Every bite I took burst with the salty, spicy, coconutty, and oniony seasonings that seeped into the white meat. The mustard is introduced on this side dish for a mellow tang.

Vidur and Tan keep it simple with their recommendations and I duly followed with their hometown favourite and introductory kati for first timers, the BB Classic Roll (HK$98), a flaky paratha wrap with beaten egg encircling a mix of mint and cashew chutney, coconut pickled onions, and pulled chicken tikka.

With the Classic Roll, you are gaining an introduction into the spice palate Bengal Brothers is infamous for. This kati is simple with its recipe construction, but elaborates further with the rich turmeric, cardamon, mint, garam masala, garlic, onion, and salt that bring a nice earthy flavouring to the butter of the roll.

On my last draw at Bengal Brothers, I picked the Tamil Pepper Beef (HK$108) “first-class” rice bowl to explore the packed basin of coconut cucumber and peanut salad, pickled beetroot, turmeric rice, and the signature beef shank marinated and cooked in a garam masala, peppercorn, and coconut sauce.

The three-piece spiced, sautéed, and marinated beef guarantees to melt in your mouth, with oozing of salty and peppery juices that excite the tastebuds. The sauce blends the in-house daily-made yoghurt, with hints of cumin, fennel, and cinnamon, for an herby gastro-adventure along the south of India. I suggest you mix all parts of the bowl around to soak up the snappy cucumber bites, rice, and peppered beef for a sweet and salty combo.

Atmosphere

Bengal Brothers emulates the frenetic energy of a kati roll stand found anywhere in India. Delivery drivers swoop in for orders, blue-collared men and women storm the place for lunch, and crowds are a constant, sharing chats with regulars and Vidur and Tanvir.

The venue is a true homage to Delhi childhood, the creamy and spicy flavours of India, and treasured memories of street eating the “brothers” miss. Bengal Brothers saw its birth out of a need to provide home-sick Indians with the flavours and hustle and bustle of back home.

Verdict

Bengal Brothers is a must-go for an experience savouring an authentic snack celebrated by millions, but rare and fresh in Hong Kong. Rich creamy flavours, succulent vegetables, and spicy meats are a guarantee, with a neighbourhood feel also created in-house.

The pair’s culinary and operations experience at Rajasthan Rifles, Chaat, New Punjab Club, and Potato Head really shine through in every bite.

Find an hour in your day on a lunch break to venture to Bengal Brothers with a friend, sharing two street snacks with a kati roll in hand or a rice bowl beneath. We highly suggest you order the BB Classic Roll (HK$98), Achaari Paneer Roll (HK$88), or Tamil Pepper Beef bowl (HK$108) for mains, and Sweet Potato chaat (HK$55) and Kerala Fried Chicken (HK$60).



Food and drink

Bengal Brothers’ menu is a tightknit collection of chicken, beef, paneer, chickpea, and veggie kati rolls, “first-class” rice bowls, spicy and tangy street snacks, and homemade coolers, including their addictive Fresh Mago Lassi (HK$55).

I began my feast at Bengal Brothers with the Sweet Potato Chaat (HK$50), a Vidur-approved recommendation, a colourful mix of roast sweet potato chunks, dressed in mint chutney, homemade yoghurt, crunchy noodles, and rich pomegranates.

The chaat stands for a colourful exploration of crunch versus juicy soft bites and sweet versus sour, tangy flavours. The earthy potato bites work well in tandem with the noodles to offer an opposing crunchy texture, the mild spice of the chutney is matched with the sweetness and cream of the yoghurt, whilst the pomegranates colour the dish and burst with flavour in your mouth.

Next up, I tucked into the golden Gunpowder Fries (HK$40), a handful-serving of golden fries dusted with Bengal Brothers’ house-made spice mix, including tamarind, chilli, paprika, and sugar for a kick!

Like every item on the menu, the fries are no different, offering a playful opposing flavour combo – tingling spice on the first bite and contact with the tongue, followed by a pleasant tinge of sweetness. They make a perfect shared side dish with a mate on a lunch-date. Be aware, they are addictive.

A trip to Bengal Brothers would not be complete – in the considered words of Vidur – without tasting the Kerala Fried Chicken (HK$60), a side of unbelievably juicy chicken strips battered in rice flour and seasoned with curry leaf, ginger, and green chilli.

Chicken is sometimes hard to cook and retain a final product that is juicy and penetrated by the seasoned coating, but this BB chicken is...and it’s unreal. Every bite I took burst with the salty, spicy, coconutty, and oniony seasonings that seeped into the white meat. The mustard is introduced on this side dish for a mellow tang.

Vidur and Tan keep it simple with their recommendations and I duly followed with their hometown favourite and introductory kati for first timers, the BB Classic Roll (HK$98), a flaky paratha wrap with beaten egg encircling a mix of mint and cashew chutney, coconut pickled onions, and pulled chicken tikka.

With the Classic Roll, you are gaining an introduction into the spice palate Bengal Brothers is infamous for. This kati is simple with its recipe construction, but elaborates further with the rich turmeric, cardamon, mint, garam masala, garlic, onion, and salt that bring a nice earthy flavouring to the butter of the roll.

On my last draw at Bengal Brothers, I picked the Tamil Pepper Beef (HK$108) “first-class” rice bowl to explore the packed basin of coconut cucumber and peanut salad, pickled beetroot, turmeric rice, and the signature beef shank marinated and cooked in a garam masala, peppercorn, and coconut sauce.

The three-piece spiced, sautéed, and marinated beef guarantees to melt in your mouth, with oozing of salty and peppery juices that excite the tastebuds. The sauce blends the in-house daily-made yoghurt, with hints of cumin, fennel, and cinnamon, for an herby gastro-adventure along the south of India. I suggest you mix all parts of the bowl around to soak up the snappy cucumber bites, rice, and peppered beef for a sweet and salty combo.

Atmosphere

Bengal Brothers emulates the frenetic energy of a kati roll stand found anywhere in India. Delivery drivers swoop in for orders, blue-collared men and women storm the place for lunch, and crowds are a constant, sharing chats with regulars and Vidur and Tanvir.

The venue is a true homage to Delhi childhood, the creamy and spicy flavours of India, and treasured memories of street eating the “brothers” miss. Bengal Brothers saw its birth out of a need to provide home-sick Indians with the flavours and hustle and bustle of back home.

Verdict

Bengal Brothers is a must-go for an experience savouring an authentic snack celebrated by millions, but rare and fresh in Hong Kong. Rich creamy flavours, succulent vegetables, and spicy meats are a guarantee, with a neighbourhood feel also created in-house.

The pair’s culinary and operations experience at Rajasthan Rifles, New Punjab Club, and Potato Head really shine through in every bite.

Find an hour in your day on a lunch break to venture to Bengal Brothers with a friend, sharing two street snacks with a kati roll in hand or a rice bowl beneath. We highly suggest you order the BB Classic Roll (HK$98), Achaari Paneer Roll (HK$88), or Tamil Pepper Beef bowl (HK$108) for mains, and Sweet Potato chaat (HK$55) and Kerala Fried Chicken (HK$60).


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