In a rare weekday lunch for the Culinary-Passport I picked up my buddy Swain and we headed out for Korean. But wait, you say, the heading says India and you are correct. For reasons we had to pivot from Korean and landed at the Curry Hut. As landings go it was a pretty successful one.
From the outside the Curry Hut is not at all impressive. The building looks aged and you know they are not the first restaurant to occupy this space. The inside is better and the menu was downright expensive looking in this day and age of laminated or paper one sheeters.
We had two folks waiting on us, one a very experienced veteran of the Curry Hut and one that was a rookie and she let us know she was. So after spending quite a bit of time trying to make up our minds from the extensive menu I went with Badami Murgh (almond chicken) plus a side of garlic naan and Swain got Chicken Hyderabadi with pappadum. We had some discussion about spiciness with the more experienced of the wait staff and both got the spicy versions of our dishes.
You might have noticed the elegant serving dishes and plates. I will admit to a negative reaction. When it came time to leave however, I appreciated the leftover badami murgh already being in a to go container.
The badami murgh is very tasty. Kind of sweet with plenty of heat. The dish tasted like it might have had some coconut milk as well as the almond & cashew nuts. The curry was aromatic, creamy, nutty, and the spiciness was a definite taste on its own. It wasn’t like a specific type of pepper flavor but a sharp hot flavor. In fact the heat was just at the top end of my enjoyability spectrum of spiciness. Overall it was very nice with plenty to take home. Check them out for yourself.
If you want a quick hit of more India related content check out the Tell Me More page.
From Oktoberfest last blog I took the culinary-passport east to Pakistan via Zafram Kabab Palace. I was actually trying to find a place that served Afghan cuisine and this place popped up but the best they really had that I could see was something they called Afghani rice with a couple of dishes. Instead they mostly had Pakistani and Indian food and that’s what they advertise. I decided what the heck I’d try them out.
They started out with a big downgrade from me. I got there at 11:30, which is the opening time on their website, on their door and at least two places inside the restaurant but they were not yet opened. There happened to be a family of folks from somewhere in southeast Asia who got there before me and were waiting as well. We all sat in our cars for about 5 minutes and then they got out and stood around the door, at this point they had a few more join the initial crew so there were 8 of them. One guy got impatient and banged on the door when he saw someone moving around inside. That person unlocked the door and while I didn’t hear the whole conversation I saw one of the women tapping her watch and heard the guy say “12:00 o’clock”. Every one of us immediately looked at the sign on the door that said 11:30 and then back at him like he was nuts. We got in though and waited while they stocked the buffet.
The buffet was apparently the what they expected everybody to have because there was no offer to bring a menu or even a casual wave of the hand at the huge pictures of their food hanging from the walls. At this point I was kind of just wanting to eat and leave so I decided to go with the buffet, in spite of the fact they didn’t have any damn kababs on the buffet.
The picture above was my second plate. The first one I had a bit of goat biryani, white rice and chicken kadhai and some vegetable pakora. The kadhai was chicken in a spicy tomato gravy and was quite good. The pakora was essentially a battered potato slice along with a bit of other vegetable stuck to it and deep fried. The second plate I had tandoori chicken pieces (they cut those chicken pieces very oddly), some white rice and pakora in a yellow curry gravy along with some naan to sop up the plate. I didn’t catch the name of the yellow veggie stuff but it was suggested by the guy running the front who had become quite solicitous once everyone got in and got seated. He came over a couple of time to make sure everything was good and on the first trip I got him to hook me up with a mango lassi, one of my favorite drinks. The orange pile on the plate is gajar ka halwa, a carrot based pudding kind of thing. The carrots were grated small and almost granular so it had an interesting texture. It wasn’t as sweet as I thought it was going to be at first, which was good.
Overall the I’d give the place good marks for the food but they lose some for their apparent disregard for time and schedules and the initial greeting from the front man. He made most of those back after the fact but first impressions do matter.
There’s a good recipe for kheer and a nice video on the Tell Me More page so check it out.
Next week is the last food truck Friday of the year so I’m going to have to go hard at finding new countries or new restaurants for old.