Saturday, September 5, 2009

Tandoor Indian Restaurant

Tandoor Indian Restaurant, #10 Lane 73 Hejiang Street, Taipei
(Just off Minsheng Road behind the office building with a SAAB dealer, walkable from Zhongshan Jr. High School MRT) and #9 Lane 13 Tianmu West Road
台北市合江街73巷10號 / 台北市天母西路13巷9號

Maybe not as intellectually weighty as talking about the Dalai Lama's visit (by the way, President Ma, you suck - it's disgusting that you think it's more important to please a hegemonic, totalitarian, immoral and heartless regime that claims sovereignty over the country you purport to rule than it is to welcome a pacifist spiritual leader revered by millions. Disgusting, sick and sad and I am ashamed to call you the President of any nation)...

...but we tried Tandoor Indian cuisine for the first time tonight.

How's that for an abrupt digression?

Anyway, it was good, but definitely had its strengths and weaknesses.

Things I didn't like:

Portion size: for the price, the portions were rather small - I guess you could say quality over quantity, but then for less money you get more curry that's just as good elsewhere.

Prices in general: NT$60 for pickle or chutney? That's $2.00 US and a bit steep for what is basically a little dish with a spoonful of pickle, from a jar that probably cost $150 NT ($4.50) max. I almost always order a pickle with my meal and didn't this time because I'm not prepared to pay NT$60 for it.

The tea and samosas: the tea was weak and not spiced enough despite asking for extra spices. The samosas were perfectly acceptable but rather small and not fantastic...nothing like the amazing mutton samosas we get it Ali Baba or Calcutta Indian Food? I forget. One of those two, however, has ridiculously good samosas that blow Tandoor's out of the water. And Exotic Masala House has the best masala chai.

But I would eat there again, with those things in mind. The restaurant had many strengths to recommend it as well:

Service: quick, friendly and efficient and the waiter helped me note down the Chinese names of some spices (nutmeg, clove, turmeric, methi) that I couldn't find in the dictionary.

General quality of food: the curry was good, I give it that. The masala kofta was spicy as heck, which I appreciate.

Homemade desserts: everyone else, if they even offer gulab jamun, gets it from a can. Tandoor's are homemade. I'd put more spice and rosewater in the sauce, but I appreciate that it's not overly sweet.

Alcohol: fine selection, including Kingfisher, a crap beer (really, it's bad) that goes uncannily well with curry but nothing else.

Menu selection: a wide selection of breads including naan, roti and three kulchas (paneer, onion and lamb) as well as puri, though we ordered the puri and it came out flat (puri is a puffed bread that should, at its best, be oily, flaky and spherical and deflate when you tear it open)...also a very wide regional selection of dishes such as Goan fish, a Marathi curry and some other rarities that are hard to find in Indian restaurants around here.

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