Do you sell butter chicken? I have been the target of this question many times while selling Dosa in my parent’s food stall. The frustrating thing isn’t the fact that we have a sign that clearly indicates that we only sell vegetarian food. It’s not even the fact that we have a picture of what we sell placed in front of the stall. The frustrating thing to me is that these people are ignoring the vast variety of dishes and flavours that make Indian cuisine what it really is. This post is for those of us who have experienced and appreciate this fact.
I’m not the kind of person to make outrageous claims. Nor do I feel the need to glorify the inglorious. But I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I have eaten at the best Indian restaurant in Auckland. You have probably seen it being raved about in magazines, newspapers and other media. It is the first ever Indian restaurant to be featured in the taste of Auckland. It is off course IVillage.
I have been to this restaurant a few times so I will walk you through my latest experience.
When you first walk in, the décor will transport you to a northern Indian village. More accurately to a Rajasthani village. Parked outside is a full sized bullock cart. The authentic feel adds to the allure of this place. Once you enter you will be escorted to your table. The waiters are polite and the service is great. OK so let’s start!!
We started off with a ‘Masala Chaas‘. This is not on the menu but the first time we visited, this was recommended to us. Since then we have had it every single time. It’s a combination of yoghurt, coriander, ginger and various spices. An awesome way to start. It is served in a tall glass and is a perfect accompaniment to the meal ahead.
For our entrées we ordered the ‘Indo-Chinese bullets‘ and the ‘Basket of Mumbai Aloo Chaat‘. The aloo chaat is a great example of simple street food transformed into a plate that is satisfying to all the senses. It is served in an edible basket and the portion is fairly big. It’s good, really really good but the real stars of the show are the indo chinese bullets. This is a pakora redefined. It’s like a pakora made love to awesomeness and gave birth to an indo chinese bullet. It’s nothing like anything you’ve tasted before and is sure to blow your mind. I haven’t even mentioned the dip it comes with. Sweet, spicy, tangy, all at the same time. This one is a winner. A must have!!
At this point I have to warn you. Do not, I repeat do not fill yourself on the entrées. Fight the urge to order more. The mains are just around the corner.
Next up the ‘Balti Dum Goat‘, ‘Himalayan Hariyali‘ with the ‘Garlic and Cheese Naan‘. This is the kind of food that the butter chicken bashers will miss out on. These unique gravy dishes epitomise the variety that Indian cuisine can offer up. The goat is moist, tender and is drowned in an amazing, spicy gravy. The himalayan hariyali is served with luscious pieces of paneer surrounded by a spinach gravy that is sure to get your attention. The naan is perfectly cooked and is probably the best of its kind in Auckland.
Full yet? Well too bad!! finish off with some desert. We were treated to an old classic with a twist. A paan flavoured kulfi. Served in a miniature clay pot, it is a fitting end to a memorable meal.
There is a lot on offer at IVillage. I’ve barely scratched the surface. I urge you to experience it yourself. It is sure to impress.