Dining With Denise Neil

Mumbai Rail Indian Bistro opens in Wichita

First smoothies. Then coffee. Now the new Union Station project in downtown Wichita is serving Indian food.

Mumbai Rail Indian Bistro is set to open at 10:30 a.m. Friday, April 29, in the old Rock Island Depot building at 701 W. Douglas. The restaurant is in the back half of the building, just behind the new Smoothie King.

Neil Bhakta owns Mumbai Rail (and Smoothie King) and has been working on the project for three years, he said. On Thursday night, he invited friends, family and business associates to see the restaurant, try the food and give his staff a trial run.

The main level of the two-story restaurant is now ready for customers. It will offer fast-service Indian dishes that will be displayed, Chipotle-style, at a counter where customers can choose what they want. They can opt for a three-entree plate, which includes rice, naan and condiments, for $14.99. A two-entree plate is $10.49. A kid’s plate with two smaller entrees and a drink is $5.99.

Mumbai Rail serves primarily Gujarati-style cuisine, which is lighter than Northern Indian fare, Bhakta said. The menu includes no beef or pork and is not dairy-based. Instead, the dishes are made with chicken, shrimp, catfish and veggies. Among the entree choices will be chicken tikka masala, bindi masala and shrimp vindaloo. The restaurant also will serve samosas and street-style appetizers like dosa, chicken wings and chili paneer, which is fresh cheese stir fried in Indian spices.

In a few weeks, the upstairs portion of the restaurant will be ready. Where the downstairs area offers counter service, those who choose to eat upstairs will find a more fine-dining setting and table service. The restaurant also will add a patio in the coming weeks, said general manager Ravi Zinzuwadia, and it will be equipped with a pass-through window through which the restaurant can serve patio diners.

The restaurant, which is connected to Smoothie King through an interior door, also will have drinks like mango or guava iced tea, hot chai tea and lassi, which is a yogurt-based drink. It also should have its liquor license within a month, Zinzuwadia said.

The decor is bright and modern with splashes of orange and lime green. Bhakta also preserved the original tile floor laid in the depot in the 1800s, just like he did at Smoothie King.

Mumbai Rail’s hours are 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays and Tuesdays through Thursdays and 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. It’s closed on Mondays.