KC College and its Alan Harperesque brother HR have always been colleges I’ve looked up to. Not for their academics and certainly not for their campus but for the simple fact that as someone who went to St. Xavier’s, I absolutely loathe people who bring guitars to college, KC and HR don’t seem to have that problem, which in my mind should qualify them for an A+ NAAC rating (they have an ‘A’). I couldn’t in my wildest dreams memorise let alone pronounce Kishinchand Chelaram and Hassaram Rijhumal, and I have great respect for people who can, but this isn’t about the colleges, it’s about something the students hold far more dear, Raju Sandwich Stall.
Bombay has always had a proud tradition of small food stalls outside esteemed institutions of learning (and Jamnabai), selflessly serving up sandwiches, rolls and e-coli. But Raju Sandwich isn’t any ordinary sandwich stall, it’s obviously something much more than that, or else my acquaintances at KC wouldn’t have threatened to expose the details of our company’s offshore accounts in exchange for a review. So being a man of strength and resolve who doesn’t negotiate with Sindhis, I decided to do the review.
Raju Sandwich Stall looks like every other food stall in Mumbai, absolutely unremarkable. But like my mother always tells me, it’s what’s on the inside that matters, those mean girls don’t know what they’re talking about. And that’s where Raju Sandwich Stall reveals its brilliance; its food is incredible. It isn’t just good for a roadside cart; it’s good for any place that serves food in exchange for money. We only got to try two items on the menu because we’d lost many good men trying to digest the god-awful pani puri ice cream from Papacream, but it did give us a pretty fair idea about what KC and HR have been hoarding from the rest of the world for years, the 9th Symphony of street food, an absolute treasure on a crowded street near Churchgate.
1) Cheese Panini
You know your roadside stall has been gentrified beyond the point of no return when it starts serving Paninis. That being said, Raju’s cheese panini doesn’t just taste amazing, it’s one of the most gorgeous things I’ve ever seen, and it actually made me like capsicum. It’s pretty spicy in itself but gets infinitely hotter when you dip it in the complementary red chilli garlic chutney, so try not to forget that when Derrick the Intern dares you to finish it all off without having a sip of water (Damn you, Derrick the Intern). The complementary green chutney isn’t all that bad either. I understand that 110 bucks for what is essentially a fancily named street sandwich sounds like daylight robbery, but trust me, it’s totally worth it.
2) Chilli Cheese Roll
Derrick the Intern called for the Chilli Cheese Roll because we don’t pay him. It also happens to be the most popular item on the menu, and I can understand why. It’s basically just chopped up vegetables in a roll sprinkled with cheese, but the magical red chutney really manages to bring it to life somehow. The soft roll really comes together with the crunch from the freshly chopped vegetables and the heat from the red chutney. Also, cheese. Like the Panini, the chilli cheese roll tastes excellent although I still hate the fact that it’s wholly vegetarian. Vegetarians don’t deserve nice things.
Raju Sandwich Stall really is a brilliant place. Most people have fond memories of the sandwich shop opposite their college only because their judgement’s been clouded by nostalgia, but as someone whose sole relationship with KC college is winning the Acapella competition at Blitzkrieg 2013 (an achievement which I still put on my resume) I can say for a fact that Raju Sandwich is every bit as good as they say.