Jai Shankar Pani Puri wala was a place I was dying to visit based on all great reviews for this place and also recommendations from foodie friends. Such a shame that it still took me months to actually land up here although the place is really close from work and just the perfect place for an evening snack craving on days when one is working late.
It is a small shop with three odd tables located just ahead of Shivaji Market, in Baba Jaan Dargah Chowk in Camp. Please do not take your own vehicles here as parking is extremely difficult to find. An autorickshaw is your best bet. Although it is a small shop, the thing about this chat place which catches your attention first is that it is really very clean and hygiene is given due importance.
I think Chaat is something which has great nostalgia value, and people normally like only the type of Chaat they grow up eating and most other forms are generally disliked. So for a person like me, who has grown up eating mumbaiyya chaat with garam ragda in a aate ki poori, a delhi wala golgappa in sooji poori is torture to eat; and maybe for my friends who grew up eating Phuchkas in Kolkata or Golgappa in Delhi; Pani Puri is hard to eat. So be warned that this place serves up Mumbai style chaat, and do not go here expecting Saunth and Aloo Tikkis.
This is what we tried at Jai Shankar Pani Puriwala:
Bombay Chat: They say it is their signature dish, and it is really yummy with a thick imli chutney, equally thick dahi, perfectly cooked and yet not mushy Kabuli chana and crushed Pani Puris. The proportions of all the components is just perfect.
Ragda Patties: Ragda Patties for me, has to be hot and mushy white peas with an aloo patty with a crunchy cover. The Ragda patties here has a single, slightly lackluster patty with cold boiled chana. Not bad tastewise, but not how I like mine.
Sev Batata Dahi Puri: They don’t have a flat poori with the routine toppings, but instead they have the pani-poori wali pooris stuffed with the usuals. Quite nice in terms of taste.
Papdi Chaat: Papdi chaat had the flat atta pooris with crushed bhallas, dahi, chutneys and boondi soaked in asafetida water. It was delicious, but would have preferred the boondi to be crunchy.
Tokri Chaat: This was their version of a Raj Kachori. One huge crunchy poori, with a stuffing of bhallas, potato, chana, sev, crispy boondi and chutneys. Yummy again.
Khasta Chaat: Again, one of their specials; this one has bits of flaky and crispy Mathris at the base with all the toppings. Loved this one, the mathris really take it to another level.
Service is really super quick and polite.
Most items are priced between 30-50 rupees, so for the quality, hygiene and taste; I would say it is probably the most VFM Chaat place in town.
Unfortunately, we just had no capacity to try their famous Pani-puris, so that and the Bhel is for the next visit for sure.