Among the burgers and burritos that dominate much of Austin’s eating out landscape, the Whip In’s Indian food with a Texas twist is a welcome alternative. The Whip In is ominously located just off the interstate highway that dissects the city, but the service station exterior should not put you off from experiencing the imaginative dishes and remarkable range of drinks on offer. Creativity and fresh organic ingredients combine to make the many mouthwatering offerings available on the menu. At six to seven dollars, the vegan rice bowls are not only a bargain and an escape from the meat centric diet of Texas, but they are also palate pleasing mixtures of intricate spicy Indian flavours that will fill you up too – I particularly recommend the Zambian corn and pepper masala in
spicy coconut curry. The combination of Chutneyfied eggs, corn tortilla, black bean masala and spiced basmati rice that constitute Mumbai migas offer the visiting breakfaster an unusual Indian- Mexican dish, which is very tasty and a great way to start the day. Indeed a core aim of the Whip In’s new chef, Claudia Alarcón, is to “Whip Indianze comfort food classics” and her curried ratatouille builds upon the project started by the general manager Dipak Topiwala, the inventor of such delights as the South Asian Frito Pie: Beef, beer-curried chili, fritos, black bean masala, shredded cheese, sour
cream, and cilantro chutney. I must stop myself from further lyrical waxing about the food, because the Whip In is much more than just a place to eat. Run by the friendly and ever present members of the Topiwala family, the Whip In has been evolving since day one, back in 1986: starting as a convenience store and gas station the space now remarkably accommodates a café, pub, liquor store, music venue, and grocery market selling organic locally produced ready meals and other snacks. They have over 60 beers on tap, but if none of these satisfy your curiosity then just wander to the open fridges and select something exciting from the astonishing number of beers and wine available in the store (they will open it for you at the counter). The interior café is intimate and comfortable with a small stage for music, wooden bar stools line the length of the extensive bar, and there is also a large outdoor seated area, which gets packed on Friday and Saturday nights as people gather to relax, chat, and be entertained by bands playing on the Mariposa Music Garden stage. The number of services offered at the mighty Whip In makes it a nightmare for a reviewer to condense – unbelievably an onsite brewery is being added in 2012 - but the sheer diversity also serves up something for everybody in a lively, relaxed and extremely fun atmosphere.
1950 S Interstate 35 Austin, TX 78704
+1(512) 442 5337
Google map: bit.ly/HkXIWo
* Mark Sheaves is our Been there local for Austin. You can read his profile and about Austin here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/austin-local-mark-sheaves.jsp and you can follow his tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/MarkSheaves. Check out other locals here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/trails/been-there-locals.jsp
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org