I walked in and it was love at first sight. The attitude, character and distinct vibe I got were enough to definitely make me want to try it. As I went up to the counter, the man drawn in chalk, among the many menu items, seemed like he was staring into my eyes. It all felt like being on a Bollywood set: the swirly, big fonts of words, the bright orange and yellow lights, the string of photo frames on the wall, filled with pictures of people who would stand with you if you were eating a plate of chaat at the street vendor in a small Indian town. Yet, despite this Bollywood-esque vibe, the space had a very hippie urban feel with a sophisticated and neat look.
It was a workday and noon hunger pangs took my colleague and I to Curry Up Now. The items on the menu triggered bouts of laughter, wonder and pure happiness. When I saw an item called Indian Railway Cutlet, it immediately brought a flood of memories. I thought of my many train journeys - the long wait for the railway vendor who would first sell tomato soup with breadcrumbs and then cutlets with sauce. When I was younger, every time I heard the vendor call out tomato soup or cutlet I would be brimming with excitement. Then I would glance at my father who would already be smiling because he anticipated the look on my face and he enjoyed them as much as me.
Today, I just could not stop myself from ordering it for the nostalgia, but the taste was simply unexpected. The cutlet and the tangy sauce just made my day. Living amidst many restaurants selling biryanis and traditional thali, I felt that I might have forgotten what I most enjoyed. As a child, I ate very little food from restaurants. Even after having two working parents, the only occasional indulgences were luring street food. Curry Up Now seems like a place I should visit more, especially to explore their entertainingly named items like Karol Bagh Kitty Party, Death by Tikka Masala, American Punjabi, Kapoor and Sons, Naughty Naan, Sex Fries, Angry Idli Manchurian, Tau-The Dude, and Bombay Maggi Noodles.
Curry Up Now has locations all over the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Oakland and Palo Alto.