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By Keely Allen
January 17, 2019

This New Rustic Pop-Up Bar Takes Inspiration From the Streets of India

An openair bazaar from the team behind Satya Chai Lounge.
By Keely Allen
January 17, 2019

Auckland's newest pop-up yet has landed in Ponsonby for as long as the summer heat continues to simmer. Satya Chai Bazaar is an authentic Indian experience transporting you directly into the streets of Mumbai to chill out for a few hours with shisha in hand.

The bazaar is the brainchild of Samrudh 'Sammy' Akuthota of Satya Chai Lounge. Akuthota came up with the concept after experimenting with various authentic Indian street food recipes. "I didn't imagine it would be to this extent, but I've always wanted an Indian street food place that's super informal for people to come and hang with friends. It's cheap, cheerful and a really cool atmosphere," says Akuthota.

The Pollen Street site is sandwiched between two buildings, with only the burlap sack entry to the empty lot announcing its presence. The space is solely decorated with what Akuthota describes as a nod to "Shanti town," using only makeshift things you'd find through India. Strewn across the concrete are tables made from broken washing machines and old doors, with cushioned crates for seating. As the sun sets, the outdoor-only bazaar transforms with relaxed yet funky music, fairy lights and tiki torches adding to the ambiance.

There is no formal menu, with the food on offer changing day-to-day depending on ingredients available. Moreish snacks to share include chicken tikka toasties stuffed with chicken marsala, onion, capsicum and gooey cheese and pav bhaji, the Indian equivalent of a sloppy joe which sandwiches spicy aromatic curried mince between two buttery, crispy buns. Each dish also has a vegetarian alternative available. You can wash down the hearty helpings with Indian soft drinks, iced tea and authentic chai, and follow up your meal with a shisha digestive.

Satya Chai Bazaar is located at 40 Pollen Street, Ponsonby. It's open from 12pm to 2pm and 5pm to late while the weather is good.

Published on January 17, 2019 by Keely Allen

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