Restaurant/ Takeaway Review
Written by: Deepa & Meera (Instagram: @eavithus)
Restaurant Instagram: @dyt.two
DYT2 is the reincarnation of Duka Ya Tambu, a Fast-Food Shop with a twist located on Leicester’s famous Golden Mile. For those who are unfamiliar, this takeaway shop is steeped in a rich history and was once considered an absolute pillar of the local community. It was owned by Mr & Mrs Pandya, who emigrated to the UK from Nairobi, Kenya in 1968 with a dream of starting a business. The stars aligned when a work colleague put Mr Pandya in touch with a retiring landlady, allowing him to secure the premises on Loughborough Rd.
It has not always been a takeaway though. Initially the premises was opened as a Paan Shop, and was more of a side hustle manned by Mr Pandya in the evenings and weekends after finishing his 9-5 job. The business really took off in the early 70s following the mass exodus of Indians from East Africa, with a large population of Gujarati people settling in Leicester. Mr Pandya was finally able to focus on Duka Ya Tambu full time (literally translated from Swahili to Paan Shop). As Mr Pandya had a big love of Bollywood he also started renting out Bollywood films on VHS Tapes, selling tickets on behalf of the local cinema and also became involved in concert and events promotion through the shop – a pioneering idea at the time which allowed Mr Pandya to gain a loyal customer base, who continued to return for their Bollywood fix and Paan over the next few years.
Keen to take the business further in the mid to late 70s, Mr Pandya enlisted the help of Mrs Pandya after having the idea of serving food with some East African influences in the shop. Whilst they waited for the relevant paperwork for the necessary licences etc, Mrs Pandya would cook samosas, bateta vada, chana bateta and chutneys (Gujarati snack items) at home and then bring them to the shop to sell. When the licence came through in 1981, the variety of food that Duka Ya Tambu has become renowned for was introduced… Chips, chip butties, burgers and jacket potatoes with various fillings, and their famous pili pili sauce. Mr and Mrs Pandya diligently grew their business over the next few decades, with Duka Ya Tambu becoming a well-known community hub, as well as their ‘chip butty special’ achieving legendary status amongst locals. After a hugely successful 44 years of running the shop, Mr and Mrs Pandya retired in 2013 and the shop was closed though it remained in their ownership.
After almost a decade away the takeaway has reopened as DYT2 by Mr and Mrs Pandya’s youngest daughter Leena who has retained all of the original recipes and menu, with some new items too. The interior of the shop has been spruced up, with the addition of some seating to open up the option to dine in. For Leena, the shop has always felt like home, and she felt it important to reopen its doors to not only continue her parents’ legacy, but also to reinspire the sense of community that the shop was once well known for. Leena’s passion for retaining the quality and consistency synonymous with Duka Ya Tambu is evident, as the takeaway continues to grow in popularity once again (despite very little marketing) since it’s relaunch 10 months ago, under the watchful eye of Mr & Mrs Pandya, who continue to engage with returning customers, and also welcome new ones. Read below for our full review of the venue and the food.
-All items are 100% Veggie. Vegan options are available too. If your palate prefers milder food, let them know when ordering as some of the more well-known dishes are known to pack a punch! Of course, they can dial the heat up further too if that is your preference.
-Allergens to be discussed when placing your order
-Level access to enter with enough space for a wheelchair, although no bathroom facilities due to the nature of the venue being a takeaway
There was a warm and friendly atmosphere throughout the entire visit. It’s clear that DYT2 has retained its community hub status, with several people popping in to grab some food to go, a karak chai or a smoothie. A couple who were regular attendees in their teens were actually dining in with their two teenage daughters, and reminiscing with Mr and Mrs Pandya at the time of the visit. The vibe was truly wholesome, and unlike something we’ve experienced in a takeaway shop before. You go as a customer, but are welcomed like family.
The wooden panels on the wall give the interior a contemporary feel, and the space has been cleverly utilised to add benched seating and tables with cushions adding a splash of colour and some comfort. There is also a raised bar and stools along the full-length window, offering a view straight onto the Golden mile.
Food & Drink
Each item was served up as it was cooked, from scratch and served piping hot. There was a 10–15-minute wait whilst the dishes were freshly prepared. Everything is cooked on site, fresh for the day. The oil is also frequently changed to ensure there is no compromise on taste.
Here are the items that we tried :
Pili Pili Chips with Cheese and Sweetcorn Salad (£4.50) These fully loaded chips came doused in the famous pili pili sauce offering hits of spicy, tangy and sweet notes in every mouthful. The tamarind based ambli also adds a slightly tart note. The grated cheese balances the heat of the sauce and chilli powder well, and the vegetables on top provide a lovely crunchy texture. This was one of our favourite dishes. Definitely one to add to your list.
Pili Pili Mogo (£3.70) The mogo (or cassava) was fried perfectly – crispy as you bite in, yet slightly soft in the middle. It is the perfect carrier for that pili pili sauce. Comfort food. Especially for those who have emigrated from East African countries. Definitely something to try if you’ve never had mogo before and enjoy food with a kick.
Chip Butty Special (£4.25) it is so clear to see why this is considered to be legendary… You just have to try it! It does provide a very big hit of spice, but there is nothing I would change about this butty – so be armed with a cooling drink and you’ll have the perfect combo.
Kidney Bean Salad Pot (£2.00) a straightforward little salad pot that was fresh and provided some welcome respite from all the fiery flavours. Would definitely recommend this and the sweetcorn salad to temper the thwack of heat from some of the other dishes.
Vege Burger (£4.25) – chunky and generously topped with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, cheese and a fiery relish that will definitely wake you up.
Spicy Veg Masala Panini (£4.50) This is only available at the weekends, and is filled with little jewels of diced vegetables that are generously spiced. A little bit like home-style samosa filling, but spiced differently.
Pash n Shoot (£4.50) Mango, Pineapple and Passionfruit Smoothie – Fresh, fruity and so refreshing. Served up beautifully chilled – again a must to temper the heat from some of the spicier dishes, with the tropical flavours complementing this style of food so perfectly.
Karak Chai – Chef’s Kiss. Can’t go wrong with this when executed as expertly as this.
Paan – Used as a palate cleanser or digestive aid. Paan is typically made up of a betel leaf filled with chopped up betel nut, lime and other items such as coconut, dates, sugar, menthol. Sometimes tobacco is also added. It is usually chewed (rather than eaten), and has historically been associated with producing a caffeine-like stimulant effect. It is popular across South Asian and East African communities.
Service was quick and efficient – no complaints here.
Value for Money
We actually had to do a double take when we saw the prices originally – The vast majority of the menu is under £5 per item! The value for money here is unreal, particularly when you take into account the generous portion sizes and fresh ingredients. You really are getting a bargain here. In current climates where money is tight, this could potentially be the perfect guilt –free treat! Don’t just take our word for it though… Try it for yourselves, and be sure to let us know what you think.
The overall experience of visiting DYT2 was actually so heart-warming. The ethos and vibe of this place is just so lovely. The passion of the owners is so evident and you can see they really care about providing both good customer service, and also tasty food that remains true to its origin story.
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Deepa & Meera