Tuesday, September 19, 2017
A rare restaurant review: mik'sutras / MIK-6
#1 Songjiang Road (on the corner of Weishui Street)
I don't do a lot of restaurant reviews anymore, but one thing I do intend to keep doing is updating my big post on Indian food in Taipei, and reviewing Indian restaurants as I visit them.
So, I'm happy to write about my first visit to mik'sutras, the 6th business from the always fantastic Mayur Indian Kitchen. It's just to the east of Songjiang Road (松江路), actually on the corner of Weishui (渭水) street with the storefront on Weishui, very near the other Mayur (I think the 2nd one?) near the electronics market.
mik'sutras has more of a bar or club feel, but with restaurant seating. They have a full curry menu - and the curries are great as always - but not the South Indian dishes you can get elsewhere. Eventually, they'll focus more on regional snacks and chaats. They have two gorgeous ovens that are visible to the dining area, and a selection of shisha flavors served in beautiful hookahs (prices vary depending on what you order, with unusual or higher-quality flavors costing more). There is live music and occasional live dancing and performances.
Think of it as a cross between a restaurant and hookah lounge with more of a party atmosphere.
We decided to go there for my birthday, on a Sunday night. It wasn't particularly smoky, but Sunday is a quiet night for any venue, and I would imagine on nights with many hookah smokers it would be more noticeable.
The food was fantastic as always, and they did a great job catering for a large group (we were about 16). We each ordered whatever we wanted and then shared it, with rice and bread for the table - really the only way to do an Indian meal with that large a group. I ordered pork vindaloo, one of my favorite dishes but which is almost impossible to get in Taipei (I often make my own) because the owners of many Indian restaurants are Muslim. Which is fine, I get it, but it means no authentic Goan pork vindaloo for me (the best and most typical vindaloo is generally made with pork - the way the flavor of that particular meat work with the vinegar and spices does matter). It was amazing - fiery but flavorful, not just overpowering heat. I won't lie, I got a little chili high eating it.
Afterwards, those who wanted to smoke did, and we got one of the more expensive mint shishas, served in a gorgeous clear hookah filled with icy water. As people headed out, the last few of us sat around talking, smoking and drinking - it was just a great party, with a low-key end on Sunday night.
I'm not really a smoker, but shisha once a year or so I think is a perfectly acceptable indulgence. I wouldn't make a habit of it and I will never smoke cigarettes (ew!) but I've spent enough time in the Arab-influenced countries of the Mediterranean to enjoy one on occasion.
What a stark contrast to the last time I went to a hookah bar in Taiwan, where the hookah was fine, and the drinks were good and strong, but they charged me for 3 martinis when I'd only had 2 and I didn't notice until the next day (and which I think was deliberate but I can't prove it). They went out of business awhile ago and I say good riddance.
Overall I had a fantastic birthday party - Indian food, hookah, chocolate cake, passionfruit cream puffs, and some friends bought me a copy of Formosa Betrayed which couldn't be a more perfect gift for this particular bookworm!
There are other hookah bars in Taipei now - such as 1000 Nights - but frankly, if you want a good Indian meal and a hookah, mik'sutras is the place for you.