Once a dining party slides into a smoky-blue booth under hanging green lights, it's not long before the group is joined by the stars of the evening––stuffed dishes of tandoori chicken and fish cured in the heat of a charcoal clay oven. Black-and-white portraits of historical figures look on with jealousy as patrons kiss scoops of vegetarian and lamb curry dishes, sopped up with warm naan or whole-wheat roti. Meals move from savory to sweet with fruity yogurt drinks and traditional Indian desserts such as the delicate dumplings of gulab jamun—spongy milky balls soaked in a rose-scented syrup with the same sugar content as a baby's giggle.
When Krupa and Sid Panchal moved from Bombay, what they missed most about their native city was the food. Hence, they revved up St. Louis's first Indian food truck, showcasing a menu paying homage to their traditional Indian street fare, including vegetarian and vegan-friendly options. They sizzle up easy-to-transport eats, such as vada pav—mashed potatoes deep fried in a chickpea flour batter—and dosas—thin crepes, stuffed with potatoes, cheese, or vegetables. The flavorful dishes are enhanced with dry or wet chutneys made from tamarind, cilantro, or garlic.
Chef Daljit Singh enjoys playing with the conventions of traditional Indian cuisine, infusing elements of Chinese cooking to create new dishes and flavors. With more than 10 years of experience, chef Singh traffics in avant-garde Indian cuisine, which he serves with elegant, balanced plating. At Copper Chimney, the flavors of curry and chutney can be complemented by beer or wine from the bar or salty and sweet lassi drinks safe for those who still have to commute home via their Power Wheels.
Since 2001, the cooks at India's Kitchen have fashioned fresh vegetables and halal meats into northern and southern-Indian cuisine. They simmer tikka masala with charcoal-roasted shrimp, roast ginger-marinated chicken in a tandoor oven, and fry battered morsels of housemade paneer cheese. Patrons savor these dishes in an inviting dining room with red walls and hanging chandeliers.