At last; an Asian restaurant that reminds me of times past in London’s Brick Lane, that emporium of cultural delights where the financially challenged could dine at the Aldgate end for a pound on Monday and gorge at the Mogul palaces at the other end on pay-day – the doormen dressed in the uniforms of the Sikh regiments.
The restaurant is located on Xanthis Xenneriou street, which is down the slope from Oxi roundabout. We are greeted by Avi, the proprietor, seated at a table for two, given the menu and wonder if this is the place. By this I mean an ethnic restaurant we dwellers in the capital of a European city deserve. Many a time I have complained about the lack of diversity in the cuisine we encounter inside the walls, but there is something about this place that is encouraging. A mixed group of very jolly young Asians are celebrating a birthday, much laughter and music. The spirit of bonhomie casts its veil over the rest of us; all the other diners are smiling.
The aromas spreading from the kitchen stimulate the appetite and demand the menu receives serious attention. A traditional Indian meal will consist of various dishes of meat, vegetables, bread or rice, pulses, relish and chutneys, yoghurt, a small salad, and on festive occasions, perhaps some sweets, rather than fruit. This is my plan of attack and I will see how Avi and his chef respond.
We call for two glasses of ouzo to liven the taste buds, and from the starters, which include tandoori, pakoda, chat, samosas and soups, we select the onion bhaji.
For the main course, Lamb Madras for me and Chicken Lababdar for the companion. Plain rice – a gift from the house to new customers – and garlic naan. Mandeep, our waiter, delivers a basket of poppadums, three sauces – including a thick, spicy mint dip – and the bhaji cooked hot and very crisp, ten pieces in bite-size portions. With the main dishes we drank Indian beer, which is lively and works well with the curries. Lamb Madras is my favourite Indian dish: I have not eaten a better one in the past two decades: an absolute stunner. The quality of the food in this establishment is first rate. The chicken dish was just as good as my lamb.
This restaurant opened over a month ago, and somehow has kept off the radar maybe because the ‘knowing ones’ are not spreading the good word – selfish girls.
All aspects of Avi’s enterprise will please the discerning pursuers of the best that Delhi can place before them. Food, ambience, service – first rate. And the price: amazing. Game, set and match India.
SPECIALTY Indian cuisine
WHERE Yummy India, 23, Xanthis Xennierou Street, Nicosia – down from Oxi roundabout
WHEN Open 7 days – 11am to 11pm. Try the Indian breakfast
PRICE Very reasonable