Indian fast food is pretty rare at Berkeley. Sure, there are places like House of Curries and Naan ‘n’ Curry where you can get your favorite Indian dishes to go, but none of them are really “fast food” in the traditional sense of the word. Urbann Turbann, located near the North Gate of Berkeley, boldly defies Indian food norms.
Known to many Berkeley Students (and aptly so) as “the Indian Chipotle”, Urbann Turbann is organized in the similar fashion to its (faux) Mexican counterpart — pick a bowl or a wrap, select a meat, choose your vegetables, finish with chutneys. The entire process is just as fast as Chipotle’s (perhaps faster) — when I arrived at Urbann Turbann on a Thursday evening, there were at least 8 people in front of me, but I had my food in my hands in around 15 minutes.
I ordered a tandoori chicken naan wrap — because it consisted of so many different ingredients, let me go component by component:
1. The naan was satisfying but largely standard. It was freshly made and had a good balance of a slightly crispy outside with a fluffier interior. Urbann Turbann’s portions are pretty large so if you aren’t very hungry, I would suggest considering getting a rice bowl instead because the naan will get soggy if not eaten right away.
2. The tandoori chicken was nicely flavored and tender. The best part? The sheer amount of meat they put in my wrap. Seriously. The meat-to-everything else ratio was probably around 2-1. Next time I look forward to trying the seekh kabob (spiced beef) for a greater kick of spice.
3. The vegetables were fresh and crisp. I got diced cucumbers, onions and tomatoes in addition to green chiles. My only complained regarding the vegetables is that I wish their green chiles were spicier — I couldn’t even tell my wrap had freshly sliced chiles.
4. The chutneys (“Indian salsas”) — I chose three different sauces: first, the hot mint and cilantro, which, to anyone who is familiar with Indian food is the classic green sauce served with most Indian appetizers. This sauce is nice because the mint adds a certain freshness that is hard to achieve in most other shops. The second sauce I tried was fiery tomato, habanero, and cumin chutney. This was rather disappointing — either there was not enough in my wrap or it was not actually spicy (given that it has habanero chilies, I am guessing that this is likely not the case). Lastly, I tried “mild coconut”. This was a confusing “sauce” given that it appeared more to be shredded coconut rather than an actual sauce, but it still gave the flavors of the wrap another dimension. All in all, the sauces were hit and miss. Next time, I will definitely ask for more of the sauces and hope my wrap turns out to be more adequately spicy.