“Tummy full and value for money! That’s our motto” says BABU DINESH, OWNER, WALK INN DINER at Panampilly Nagar. When Letsstalkfood was invited to review Walk Inn Diner, I had misjudged Babu’s effervescence over the phone. He bubbled over with sheer energy and proclaimed to be a proper Mumbaikar with his Heart set in Kerala. He further surprised me by speaking impeccable Malayalam whilst introducing himself and his food venture.
With an MBA in Marketing and Finance, Babu was always involved in his family business of garments and textiles manufacturing and export in Tirupur. He first tested waters with a popular establishment in the year 2000. Fan Fang was a well-received Chinese restaurant that had presence both in Mumbai and Cochin.
With over 10 years of experience in the restaurant business, the idea of starting a food venture with a unique offering, led to a re launch with Walk Inn Diner . “Our basic concept is to invite everyone to simply drop in, relax and have some delicious food” states Babu. The diner was first located on the Ground floor with about 4 tables serving sandwiches, burgers and a variety of drinks and desserts; it was a small set up with people thronging at their doors for their signature club sandwich. Post renovations, Walk inn Café has shifted one floor up with more seating area and a promise of a wider variety of cuisines: combo lunches and dinners, burgers, shakes, sandwiches, hot dogs, wraps and rolls
The café looks at providing its customers good value for their money. Quality, hygiene and taste are factors of equal importance. Babu feels that residents of Cochin are careful about where they spend their money. Even if it is to buy a glass of juice, one needs to feel completely satisfied and only then will that glass of juice get a repeat order. The same principle is followed here as well. Walk Inn Café delivers tasty food that is worth every penny! Tried, tasted and approved.
|Pepper Chicken Burger|
When asked about the USP of the café, Babu summed it up in one word “MINT”. “All of our dishes have incorporated mint in some form. That is what sets us apart.” I’d have to agree. I love mint! It tastes so fresh and vibrant and truly gives a different dimension to the dish it is used in! In fact, their their MINT-MAYO condiment is so popular, it has to be re made every 10-15 minutes! “We don’t keep sauces for a long time. We ensure that the house made sauces that we serve are made to order and are extremely fresh!”
|Mint Mayo Dip|
The obvious next question would be why mint? We foodies have an arsenal of digestion abetting pills and liquids to aid us on our gastronomic journey and I’ve always felt most relief while consuming Pudin Hara. So yes, aiding healthful digestion was one of the aims of introducing mint into the menu. “I have noticed how people feel totally stuffed and bloated after consuming fast food and snacks and I want to eradicate this trend. I want the food I serve to be flavourful and light on the tummy.” I was assured that I would not feel the least bit stuffy or heavy after the tasting. “Let’s see” I thought to myself!
Babu has all his cheeses imported and vegetables and fruits brought in daily. Every part of the diner is inspected personally by him. I have done quite a few interviews and this was the first time a restaurant owner asked me to check out his kitchen and work area. My assessment? A place for everything and everything in its place. “Concern for quality is my biggest vice. I am stringent when it comes to the place being neat and the food we serve being of the best quality. I run a tight ship” he states simply.
|Mix Double Cheesy Wrap with chicken and egg|
I loved the personal rapport that Babu has with all his customers. Customers who walk in chat with him for a few minutes, place their order and leave all smiles. This personal interaction really helps cement the diner in the minds of its recurrent customers. Apart from the walk ins, there are quite a few delivery orders; especially for their sandwiches. “We have the office going crowd in during lunch time and after 5 in the evening, delivery orders start coming in. We also undertake party orders. Our best sellers would be our Walk inn CLUB SANDWICH and the Walk Inn SPECIAL BURGER which we have in both chicken and beef variants. We also have wraps and milkshakes, a popular one would be the KIT KAT SHAKE. However, we don’t serve aerated drinks.” Says Babu
|Walk Inn Club Sandwich|
At this point his mother Jaya walks in. The masterchef behind the recipes; especially that of the mayo mint dip, Jaya aunty was a bubby personality, full of life and enthusiasm. Chatting up with her, gave me a glimpse into how she discovered her cooking talents. Year after year of making goodies for her children’s birthday parties and the wonderful reception they received helped her understand where her potential lay. She’s been a rock hard support in the development of every aspect at Walk Inn Diner.
|Chicken Chatpata Sandwich|
With the Diner shifted to the first floor, branding exercises have begun in full swing, mainly over digital media. With the aim to create individuality and appeal in the minds of discerning customers, Walk Inn Diner has a vast menu that journeys across the orient apart from its offerings of sandies, burgers and other treats.
|Honey Chilli Fries|
Babu presented a selection of sandwiches and some Asian dishes to review. The CHICKEN CHATPATA SANDWICH was just as the name signified. Apart from the fresh tasting, homemade chicken patty, there was a layer of delicious potato filling that was absolutely lip-smacking! The second sandwich I tried was their famous WALK INN CHICKEN CLUB SANDWICH. A word of caution…do NOT be fooled by the size of this sandwich…it packs a sizeable punch! With layers of chicken, veges and egg, this sandwich left me with my happy face. What I liked best was that every bite was loaded with freshness! And yes, as Babu had said, it left my tummy happy, not heavy. I also tried the HONEY CHILLI POTATO FRIES. The fries were sufficiently crisp, thoroughly mixed with a honey and chilli based sauce. I would have liked a little more crispiness and a lot more of that sweet honey but it was a good dish none the less. The LEMONGRASS CHICKEN was something I was dreading because I am not a fan of lemongrass. Fortunately for me, the dish was more about the succulent, well-cooked pieces of chicken and the spicy sauce with just a hint of lemongrass at the end. Lemongrass fanatics need to dig into the gravy as it contained a good amount of chopped up lemon grass.
|Lemon Grass Chicken|
But the one item that I have to say stood out the most was their MINT MAYO DIP. Oh my god! It was pure heaven! I could not get enough of it! In fact, I wanted to smother it on everything! I mean, what was there not to love? The creaminess of mayo marries perfectly with the freshness of mint and that final sprinkling of chilli flakes to add a little fire make a perfect little dip!
“Branding is our future agenda” says Babu “We want our food to speak for itself. Yes, we will be pushing our brand through various arenas but at the end of the day, our food should have the final say. We have re vamped our menu but we have stuck to being a simple café that delivers good taste”. All the very best Babu! Letsstalkfood can’t wait to “WALK INN” again (especially for that mint mayo dip!)
Walk Inn Diner is located at: Main Avenue, Panampilly Nagar, 1stfloor, Opposite to Bank of Baroda