Posts Tagged ‘Indian’


In Restaurants on 19 January 2013 at 9:48 pm

There is a place called Masala Zone in London, which has been my refuge for one decade and continues to be my home away from home. Good home cooked food at reasonable prices. Imagine my joy, when I found Masala Zone’s fraternal twin in Nottingham. A fresh decor, nice service and unpretentious simple homely Indian food. The thali is nice and sumptuous, though a bit expensive at about about 12 quid. Then there are the curry bowl with rice. Homestyle chicken curry, lamb chettinad and garlic chilli chicken are worth trying. Again, just a tad expensive at 10 quid. Though, a very satisfying experience.

Tamatanga | The Cornerhouse Trinity Square, Nottingham NG1 4DB | 0115 958 4848

Kayal and Inder’s Kitchen

In Restaurants on 19 January 2013 at 9:35 pm

Anyone who has found themselves walking down the high street in UK knows that it is not difficult to find Indian restaurant.Yet is quite amazing how tough it is to find good authentic Indian food. It has a lot to do with the segment it occupies in the food market in UK. It competes hard in the pizza and chip shop segment. Once that brand image has been established, it is very difficult for an Indian restaurant to deviate and deliver food with quality that pleases someone with a more sophisticated palette.

I have come across two notable exceptions. They are Inder’s Kitchen and Kayal.

Inder’s Kitchen is a new takeaway in Cambridge that is on everyone’s lips. The phone is often answered by Inder herself – a sassy woman with an attitude that is reflected in the food she delivers. The food is modern Indian, relatively healthy and cooked with all the subtleties that is lacking in food served in Indian restaurants across UK. The right blend of spices used with skills so that it imbues the food with flavour but does not overpower either your palette or your senses. I have ordered a number of times from her in the last year. Smartly dressed agents deliver the food one scooters bearing the logo of the company. Fortunately, she has never disappointed us till now.

Kayal feels more like a Swiss ski chalet than an Indian restaurant at first sight. Once you start looking, you notice the Indian touches including an Enfield motorcycle, which would fill anyone who has lived in the Sub-continent with a combination of wariness and nostalgia.

Kayal is an authentic Malyali (Kerala for the uninitiated) restaurant run by a Syrian Christian family. They do a fantastic lunch thali on weekdays for 5.95 GBP. The thali consists of three katoris of eclectic subzis and one non-vegetarian katori. There is rice along with couple of coconut chutneys. The plain dosa that accompanies the thali is the pure joy.

Kayal on also offers a sadya thali for 16.50 GBP. We tried the sadya thali on a very cold January evening this year. In Malyali (the language in this context), sadya means feast and a feast it was. The sadya thali entail a three course meal with around 15 dishes in all. The range of flavours and sensation were mind numbing. I struggled to eat even half of what was given to us. It is certainly something worth experiencing at least once. Even if you have to travel to Nottingham for that.

Kayal Nottingham | 8 Broad Street Nottingham NG1 3AL | 0115 941 4733
Inder’s Kitchen | 43 Clifton Road Cambridge CB1 7ED | 01223 211 333

Royal Kitchen, Prideinn

In Restaurants on 23 October 2011 at 1:06 am

I am finicky about Indian food and why shouldn’t I be. I rarely like eating Indian food in a restaurant. Imagine my surprise when I found myself eating a fantastic Indian meal and that too in a relatively unknown Indian restaurant in Nairobi.

Royal Kitchen looks less like a restaurant and more like a cafe run in a safari tent when you walk in at first. At the end of the tent are some really nice intimate corners created by leather couches. Even after we had sunk into these couches, we could see the football on the telly out of the corner of our eyes. Prideinn is a residential hotel and it is a shame that the Royal Kitchen doubles up as a coffee shop. There were the usual boisterous expats downing beers in the background and reliving their African exploits, which frankly sounded more fantasy than reality. Nairobi, for all its charm, would be a far better place without the swarming crowd of pretentious self styled Livingstones.

The menu was intriguing. It was an eclectic menu largely drawn from the Mughalai cuisine. It was also reminiscent of the food I used to eat at my grandfathers as a teenager. Finding Murg Mussalam on the menu left me very nostalgic. Unfortunately, as traditional Mughalai cooking is slowly giving way to modern India cuisine with regional influences, traditional dishes like Murg Mussalam are more and more difficult to find, even in India. To my utter amazement, the Murg Mussalam was perfect. Creamy and mild, yet delightfully moorish. We ordered some kebab, a Paneer Pasanda and a lamb biryani. The only disappointment was the biryani. A proper Biryani is a very laborious to cook and almost impossible to get right in a restaurant.

The evening turned out to be a memorable one. We left the restaurant smacking our lips and feeling extremely satisfied. What matters in a restaurant is the food. If the food is done right, I can forgive almost anything. Even football and boisterous expats!

Masala Zone

In London, Restaurants on 5 July 2011 at 5:33 pm

If I had a home away from home, this would be it. This is not a Indian restaurant. This is not a curry house. This is home-cooked food in a restaurant, with just enough panache to make you feel like you are doing something special.

The ambience is quirky – dolls hanging from the roofs, frescoes painted by artists that travelled from the villages of Madhya Pradesh to the London adorn the walls of this restaurant. It is a place that is what it is. More substance that flash.

The food is simple. You get food in a thali. In a traditional Indian home, you would eat in a thali – a large steel plate with lots of tapas sized portion of lentils and vegetables. The thali in Masala zone usually has a couple of vegetables – sometimes they are curried but quite often they are dry – a dal (or lentil for the uninitiated), a dish meat or fish dish that you can choose, some rice and a roti.

The vegetables and the dal changes everyday, so you never get bored. Well, at least I never did. I have been going to this restaruant chain for the last 10 years and done everything imaginable in this plac. Smile, laughed, flirted, charmed the girl, fallen for the wrong the girl, fallen for the impossibly wrong girl – again, stayed up with the manager after the restaurant closed, suggested quirky cocktail concoctions that went up on the menu and have always walked away feeling happier than than before I went in. In all my trails and tribulations, if there has been one constant, it is this place. It is a chain, but a chain of happy coincidences.

Website | Menu

48 Floral Street, London Wc2e 9da. 020 7379 0101.

80 Upper Street, London N1 0NU, 020 7359 3399.

147 Earls Court Road, London SW5 9RQ. 020 7373 0220.