15 September 2023

Five minutes with Pranali Panchal, Anatolia Kebabs

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Anatolia Kebabs Pranali Panchal

Anatolia Kebabs owner Pranali Panchal at her new venue on Fitzmaurice Street. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

Who is Pranali Panchal: I’m the owner of Anatolia Kebabs and a mother of one. I moved to Sydney from India in 2017, where I studied for a few years and moved to Wagga Wagga in January 2021. I moved to Wagga for its peace-loving atmosphere and to get away from the hustle and bustle of Sydney. In December of 2021, I found that I was pregnant and in February (2022) we came to know the business was for sale. We were quite unsure about buying the business because I was expecting my first baby.

We thought about it and decided to go for it because it was a good chance for us to express our entrepreneurship. We bought the cafe (Cafe Sonder) and a couple of months later, we bought the kebab shop (Anatolia Kebabs), which was previously located on Baylis Street.

We went well for a few months. But we had to close down the cafe for eight months after the building was sold, had staffing issues and I had the baby. The Anatolia building on Baylis Street was also sold and after going through some troubles, we managed to open the new shop. We have now combined the cafe and the kebab shop together.

Favourite cuisine: Previously I would have said Mexican, but after coming to Wagga it would have to be Thai.

What ingredient can I not live without: I can’t live without chocolate, but chilli is my favourite ingredient.

Most embarrassing pantry item: I would say meat because I’m a vegetarian.

How many Weet-Bix do I do: I did try them once, but I didn’t like the taste on its own. But I make it into a smoothie with chocolate, honey and milk. It usually tastes like Up&Go.

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Best coffee spot in Wagga: The best spot is my cafe, of course.

Favourite coffee: I like to drink cappuccino without sugar.

What’s your coffee blend: We use Grinders.

What’s the weirdest coffee order you’ve received: The order would have to be a chai latte without milk but with cold water.

Next big thing in the Wagga food scene: I think the next big thing in the food scene should be a Wagga food festival.

Everything is a must try on the Anatolia Kebabs’ menu. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

Favourite place to lunch in Wagga: My favourite place to lunch is at Thaigga. I love Thai food.

A must-try on our menu: Pretty much everything. We have introduced a new kebab called the Cali-Kebab. It’s filled with French fries, lettuce, tomato, onion, tabouli and sauces.

Most used ingredient at Anatolia Kebabs: Barbecue sauce.

Our top pick from our desserts: We only have one dessert and it’s the baklava.

My biggest culinary influence: Me. I never used to cook back home in India but after coming to Australia, I had to take care of the ingredients and menu. So I guess I have inspired myself to cook and I’m quite happy about that. I would say cooking is my passion now.

Favourite cookbook: I have never once touched a cookbook.

Who I admire in the Wagga food and wine scene: La Porchetta. They are my second favourite.

Pranali Panchal with her staff Paras Ghimire (left) and Thushakar Selvarajah. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

What are this week’s specials at Anatolia Kebabs: We don’t have weekly specials yet, but we are planning to introduce some in the future.

Death row meal: Indian food – spicey pain puri (deep-fried breaded sphere filled with onion, potatoes, chickpeas with tamarind chutney, chilli powder or chaat masala). And I’d also like to have my coffee.

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Where am I travelling to next: I’m going to India in a couple of months.

Dream destination: My dream destination is Paris. I can’t wait to visit Europe in a couple of years.

My biggest fear: I have no fear.

My least favourite food: Khichdi (a healthy Indian dish made with rice and moong lentils).

My top three cooking tips: Always inspire yourself for a daily delicious meal. Experiment. A home-cooked meal is always the best. You can enhance your flavours according to yourself. Just keep going. You can do it.

Anatolia Kebabs is located at 97 Fitzmaurice Street. Open from Monday to Sunday, 11 am to 10 pm.

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