Ten-Second Takeaway

One of the first food trucks to hit Bangalore’s streets, The SWAT has earned a sizeable fan following with the city’s foodies. We followed them for a day {well, almost} and saw what it takes to run a successful food truck. Read on:

10.15am – Base Kitchen, Domlur

Leoma D’Souza and Jimson Johns, co-owners of SWAT, went about chasing the dreams of having a food truck – a dream they nurtured through culinary school, where they met. But sharing the dream now is Sudheesh, Apoorba, Rabi and Sanjay. Mondays usually mean a break for SWAT {aka Serving With A Twist}. But not today. Today, they’re testing waters at the new tech park — Karle Town Centre in Nagavara. Things kick off with them piling ice boxes with filled with sausages, French fries, steaks, buns, and other ingredients into the truck.

10.30am

Jim starts the vehicle and we are off!

The food truck has given Jim the opportunity to don the chef’s hat — his ultimate dream. But he’s had to take on plenty more. He’s designated driver, trainer, salesperson, and even mechanic.

11.30am – Karle Town Centre, Nagavara

The SWAT Food Truck takes a spot at the Karle Town Centre lot. There’s still an hour for service to start but there’s plenty to do. Leoma goes about finding out how many people are expected to turn up.

Jim chalks out the menu for the day on the blackboard by the van. And inspired by Eat Street {the popular TV show that features American trucks}, you’ll find gourmet hot dogs, burgers, fries, and steaks on offer.

Noon

For LBB

I, of course, spend my time in more noble pursuits. Go Waffles, a recently launched food truck, is parked beside SWAT. I size up the competition and give them a few dirty looks even {I am a team player, OK?}. But apparently, for nothing. Two minutes later, Jim walks up to them, chats warmly and returns with borrowed spoons. Turns out that Bangalore’s food truck owners even have an Association that binds them together.

12.30pm

Leoma and Jim have their black-and-white chef’s jackets on. As it is their first time here, they are unsure of what to expect. On a good day, they see up to 500 footfalls. Today is a mystery…

12.50pm

A bunch of casually-dressed men approach the truck. They spend a few minutes discussing the menu. One of them finally says, “I’ll have a Prawn & Bacon Burger,” he says.

The first smell of bacon hits the air. And there’s an audible sizzle in the small kitchen.

1pm – Karle Town Centre, Nagavara

The dude who ordered the burger is getting impatient. He wants his burger, NOW! 

Leoma plonks it in front of me for sauces. It’s MY moment!

“I don’t want any sauce,” he says obstinately

WHAT!

“Only mayo,” he adds.

WHAT!

“BBQ?” I offer enthusiastically.

“No!”

“Ketchup?” I say sweetly.

“No!”

“Mustard?” I implore.

“Only Mayo!”

Fine!

1.10pm

The next few orders come in a flurry. Peri Peri Fries, BBQ Wings, Veg Burgers…

Pans are pulled out from nooks and crannies and put to work. The ice boxes are rummaged for ingredients. And spices are brought out to add garnish. Things are heating up, literally! Even the two small fans are whirring at top speed, but boy it is hot in here.

2pm

It’s time to take a break.

The staff swing into action as we head out for a bite. While Jim and Leoma {like most chefs} prefer not to eat at the truck, I happily dig in. As I sink my teeth into a sizeable hot dog, I can see customers enjoy the menu’s other offerings. Soon enough, the Chicken Burger is rubbed off the blackboard.

3pm

SWAT Food Truck

A few more items are off the menu, the lunch crowd slowly shuffles out and the frenzy in the kitchen quietens down. Jim and Leoma are already wondering whether they need to make another supply run for the evening snack service. And we leave them to it. Over and out!

The SWAT Food Truck usually parks at tech parks, events, and private parties. For information on where they are parked everyday, do follow them on Facebook.

Photos: Hari Adivarekar