In anticipation of Botiwalla‘s opening in the Central Food Hall early next week, we sat down with Chef Meherwan Irani to chat about what to expect from his next venture into delicious Indian street food.
What is the most exciting or unique thing about opening Botiwalla in the Central Food Hall?
The space and the energy. It’s an incredibly cool space and you can tell people are blown away when they visit. On top of that we’ve got so many exciting concepts by some great chefs that it’s hard to not be hungry all the time.
How would you describe the Botiwalla experience at PCM?
Tasty and fun! It’s a different look and menu from Chai Pani, but it has all the same colorful, fun energy of the streets of India.
What menu item are you most excited about bringing to the Central Food Hall?
The whole concept is ridiculously exciting to me. This is where I got my start as a cook – marinating, grilling, barbecuing. It’s still one of my favorite things to do. If I had to pick one menu item, the tamarind glazed ribs are going to be insanely good.
What is the best part of being a part of the Atlanta restaurant community?
That it’s a community and it likes to get involved. I’ll see many of the same chefs and restaurateurs at charities, events, fundraisers, etc, and that’s where I’ve had the chance to befriend a lot of people.
What local businesses, organizations, or people, inspire you?
I truly believe that great businesses or people are those that make the world a better place because they exist. Whenever I see that, whatever form it is in, it’s inspiring and reminds me that any one person has the power to make the world a better place – one kind act at a time, one genuine smile at a time, even one plate of food at a time.
What would your last meal be and why?
That’s like asking me to pick a favorite child. It’ll probably be whatever I’m into at the moment. I love almost all food equally as long as it’s delicious and perfectly executed. If I could cook my own last meal, it’ll probably be something on the grill. Fire, smoke, meat, spice rub, marinade, caramelized onions, roasted garlicky potatoes, ….. can’t go wrong!
What is one interesting fact about Botiwalla that folks might not know?
Most people think of the tandoor when they think of Indian “barbecued” meats. But traditionally meats were grilled on open fire grills. Tandoori chicken is a fairly modern invention early in the 20th century. But for thousands of years meats were cooked on the grill. Even today, the majority of street vendors grill their kababs on skewers over a open flame grill called a sigri and that’s what we’ll be primarily using at Botiwalla.