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  WINDY CITY TIMES

DISH: SAVOR Hakka Bakka
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-02-21

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For the multitudes of restaurants in Chicago, there aren't too many fast-casual Indian spots.

However, Kaushik Guha—the owner of Hakka Bakka ( 1251 W. Fullerton Ave.; HakkaBakkaRolls.com )—told Windy City Times that his spot is unique in several ways.

And those differences even involve the revered Indian restaurants on Chicago's Devon Avenue.

Guha said that Hakka Bakka ( named after a colloquial term meaning "surprise" ) is the only one that serves kati rolls—skewered meat served with various toppings and chutneys, all in unleavened flatbread. He also said that the items in the Lincoln Park spot are made fresh daily, adding that freshness is not necessarily a component of some of the Devon Avenue eateries.

Said freshness was apparent in the kati rolls, which can be sourced in a spicier tomato-chile base or a milder cilantro-mint one. The lamb roll I had featured meat that was cooked well. ( Guha added that the lamb comes from lamb leg instead of the animal's shoulder—and is shipped from Australia. ) There is one thing to keep in mind ( and it's good ): Every order is customizable.

The samosas have a kick of their own, but are quite good—as are the masala fries that are dusted with spices and served with Indian mayo. However, the rice and salad bowls deserve attention, and they come in flavors such as chicken, chickpea, paneer and lamb.

Guha is taking steps to get the less adventurous in his restaurant, including introducing items such as tater tots. He added that people are coming in during the weekends, when certain savory items ( chaats ) are served.

When asked about the possible overflow from nearby DePaul University, Guha gave an interesting answer—that only older students attend because they are more adventurous, as younger students will want the comforts of home.Hopefully, more people will find their way to Hakka Bakka.

Note: Restaurant profiles are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.


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