Jamie, ‘Kaali Peeli’ taxi and vegan dishes

By  Indranil Halder 

You can spot the one and only iconic Indian ‘Kaali Peeli’ taxi in the Southern Hemisphere. Busy with wedding, birthday and milestone events. It was also part of the Ride & Dine with Surry Hill restaurant Masala Theory. Australia’s High Commissioner to India Hon Barry O’Farrell AO tweeted about it. And Australian former international cricket captain and author The Spirit of Cricket – India , Steve Waugh loves it. While Janek Gazecki, owner of the world’s largest urban polo companies photoed in the car with his wife. It is part of Black Cab Central & Bollywood Car.

Black Cab Central & Bollywood Car :

Black Cab Central promises guests “unforgettable experiences using iconic London cabs”. The London cabs can be spotted around NSW providing wedding transport, pink taxi tours for the Langham hotel and promoting British brands such as Marks and Spencer and Hendricks Gin. In 2019, owner of Black Cab Central, Jamie added Australia’s only Indian-style taxi (complete with Bollywood-style reupholstery and decorations) to his fleet of cars and launched “Bollywood Cars” to the Sydney market. It was this ‘Kaali Peeli’ car that I promoted and first met Jamie.

Jamie:

Jamie Robinson is a Swansea Jack, from Wales, UK. He is the owner / operator of a quirky car hire company called Black Cab Central. When not driving cars, Jamie enjoys running, running after his dachshunds, travel, art, history, eating out and personal evolution. Jamie is also involved with a number of charities including Dachshund Rescue Australia and is currently raising funds and awareness for ‘Save Asia’s Vultures from Extinction’ and ‘Save The Rhino’. As much as he loves helping animals, he loves trying out vegan food from various cultures.

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Favourite Vegan dishes:

Despite growing up in a a traditional “meat and 2 veg” country, Jamie has followed a vegan plant-based diet since 2013 which he claims has improved his health ten-fold.

Jamie says that one of the main things that impressed him about Australia when he first visited aside from the lack of rain and wind was the variety and quality of food available. He was blown away with the idea of ‘food court’. He said, “I remember walking into the food court below centre point tower and thinking I had stumbled into paradise. I couldn’t believe that you could get so many different foods and beverages from around the world in one place for such amazing prices (it was 3:1 exchange rate back then).”

His appreciation for vegetarians food has often limited him to try food from other cultures but he continues to enjoy enough vegan dishes. Today in Sydney, there are plenty of Vegan restaurants like Pilgrims Bronte which provides the most tasty, fresh and healthy food. It is my favourite. Jamie still tells me there are still few better places in the world than Sydney.

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It was in 2020, I had a lunch with Jamie at the Maya’s Vegetarian in Cleveland Street, Surry Hills. During our lunch, we enjoyed Chole bhature, I learnt that Jamie, Despite growing up in the UK, living in Dubai and having lots of North Indian friends there, he had never experienced dosa. It was in this very restaurant that he try the popular South Indian dish and fell in love with. The restaurant had been recommended to an ex girlfriend by a man named “guru”. “Whether this name was self-appointed or not, I think he’s pretty specially for indirectly introducing me to this place! Despite having travelled quite extensively in India, I’ve never had dosa as good as Mayas and if I didn’t have exercise goals, would be here every day.” said Jamie. Jamie loves vegan dishes and Exercise does not keep him away from trying different vegan dishes.

In the recent trend of indigenous food being a part of the Australian food culture and dishes like Barbecued squid and macadamia tarator, Wattleseed cheesecake and Spiced kangaroo fillet with red cabbage and saltbush are becoming popular. Jamie has long been visiting Lilypad Cafe, Glebe. The cafe is run by ‘Indigenous Peoples’ of Australia. His favourite is Vegan Eggs Benedict. He is not entirely sure how the ‘eggs’ are made but they taste very similar to the chicken eggs. Lilypad offers options for people of all dietary preferences but don’t plan to do much afterwards as the portions really are like something from Man vs Food.

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In between driving his cars for guests, Jamie makes time for food safaris around Sydney.  Blacktown is his favourite place to go for Ethiopian food. He first tried Ethiopian food in Canberra of all places and was struck by the spectacle of the dish and amused by the coy behaviour of rain coated men attempting to discretely go into the sex shop next door. Jamie says,’ I rediscovered Ethiopian food after I turned vegan as fortunately, most of the dishes are plant-based and if the Ethiopian runners are anything to go by, a great source of fuel for PB times.”

Fuelled by his healthy vegan diet, Jamie is currently preparing to run the London Marathon and will be raising funds for ‘Save The Rhino.’ 10% of all Bollywood Car bookings until the fundraising target is reached will be donated to Save The Rhino.

Next time, you see Jamie and his London cab or Indian ‘Kaali Peeli’ taxi, don’t forget to ask him about his favourite vegan restaurants in Sydney. He will be happy to share his list with you. Contact Jamie on james@blackcabcentral.com.au