Monday, December 29, 2014

'Indian Food' by K.J.S.Chatrath

Those who have not tried various varieties of Indian food, have absolutely no idea of what good food is! Food of no other country comes any where close to it. Sounds jingoistic? Maybe, but this is the truth.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

‘Indian restaurants in Siem Reap, Cambodia’ by K.J.S.Chatrath

I few months back I made a short trip to Siem Reap in Cambodia. This was my first visit to the Far East after 1978. I remembered that during the last visit to Thailand and Phillipines, I had found it difficult to get used to the food as every item seemed to be smelling of sea-food. Since Siem Reap is not on the normal itineraries of the Indian tourists, I was quite apprehensive about getting a full meal during the trip.
Happily I was proved wrong. Indian food, which I personally consider to be the best in the world, has managed to reach this interior part of Cambodia. On the second day of my stay I went to an Indian restaurant called quite simply ‘The Indian’. I met the owner Mr.Sajeesh. He told me that he comes from Trichur in Kerala and has been running his restaurant since the last 9 years. This restaurant proudly claims, “Own (sic!) by Indian, Run by Indian, Chef from from India’.

The food at ‘The Indian’ (above) was good. I may add that the ‘naan’ that I had there was perhaps the best that I have ever had.

This ‘thali’ at ‘Currywala was also good, though the ‘naan’ was very thin and the curd a bit sour.

I also had food at the ‘Taste of India’ where the ‘thali’ served was identical in menu and taste to the one that I had earlier had at the Currywala.

Indian chutneys at ‘the Taste of India’

Here is a list of the Indian restaurants in Siem Reap. Please take note that it is not a comprehensive list and the restaurants have been arranged alphabetically.

Ababa Curry House: Road to Angkor Night Market, Steung Thmey Village, Sangkat Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap City, Siem Reap. Email: (

Chusska Indian Vegetarian Restaurant: St. 7, next to Pub (St.), Old Market Area, Siem Reap City, Siem Reap.

Curry Walla Indian Cuisine: No. B05, Sivatha (St.), Sangkat Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap. Dakshin’s Restaurant: No. 99, Sangkat Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap.

India Gate Restaurant: No. 342, St. 9, Old Market, Sangkat Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap.

Kerala Indian Restaurant: Near Phsar Chas, Pub Street, Siem Reap.

Little India Restaurant: No. 363, Group 6, Mondul 1 Village, Sangkat Svay Dangkum, opposite Blue Pumpkin, Siem Reap. (Email:

Maharajah Restaurant: Sivatha (St.), front of Terrasse Des Elephants, Old Market Area, Siem Reap. (Email:

New Delhi Indian Foods Restaurant: No. 070, in front of Siem Reap Hospital, Mondul 1 Village, Sangkat Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap

Taj Mahal Restaurant: No. 11, Mondul 1 Village, Sangkat Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap. (Email:

Taste of India Restaurant: No. 109, Sivatha (St.), Mondul 1 Village, Sangkat Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap

The Indian Restaurant: E161 Bar (St.), Old Market, Siem Reap. (Email:

I saw the advertisement of another, rather unusual sounding Indian restaurant: Slumdog Curry: Ochheuteal Beach, Preah Sihanouk, Cambodia. But I did not have the heart to try out the ‘slumdog curries’!

And no town can have Indian restaurants and not have a ‘Taj Mahal Restaurant’. Pnom Penh has not one but two Shere Punjab restaurants - Shere Punjab-I and Shere Punjab-II! Oyay Balle…Balle.. ji!

(I was a full paying customer at the three restaurants mentioned above)

Photos, text and copyright: K.J.S.Chatrath

This photo article was earlier put up on my website

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

'Taj Mahal in Brasov, Romania' by K.J.S.Chatrath

Source of the following photo: Internet
Before I took this bus trip in Romania, I had never heard of Brasov. So visit to this lovely little town turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. This is a place where a number of Germans had settled quite some time back.
During this trip I had decided not to look for Indian restaurants and to try to survive on the locally eaten food. But while taking a walk around the lunch time I noticed a board 'Taj Mahal', and could not resist myself.
Located centrally in Brasov's old town, the Taj Mahal is just 50 metres from the Council Aquare and 150 metres from the Black Church. It offers two terraces as sitting spaces for the restaurant. However the passage leading to the restaurant was narrow and not very attractive.
budapest-etc-june-2013-1278-450-80-jpgI was the only guest in the restaurant at that time. The pleasant looking young Romanian waiter brought the menu. It was a professional job and various Indian dishes had been well listed out.
I decided to play safe and ordered 'Butter Chicken' and 'naan'. Then I struck a conversation with the waiter and asked him who the proprietor of the restaurant was. It belongs to a lady. She is from India, I prodded him. No Sir, she is a Romanian lady. Then is her husband from India, I asked hopefully. No Sir, he is a German. Still not giving up, I tried the last one, 'Do you have an Indian chef?'. The reply again was, No Sir, he is a Romanian but he is an expert in Indian cooking.
Soon he served the lunch. The 'naan' turned out to be a stiff 'pappar' like stuff. The Butter chicken looked and tasted pathetic. The chicken was not fully cooked.
But all this was more than compensated by the rice served. It is complimentary with the chicken dish, informed the waiter. The size of basmati rice was long and the aroma excellent. There was just a dash of 'tej patra' and a bit of saffron had been delicately added. It was one of the best rice dishes I have had in my life.
Both the chicken and the rice had slight sprinkling of sliced almonds.
I left the restaurant happily musing how in this far away land, a Romanian lady had decided to set up a restaurant serving Indian food. ...

(I visited this restaurant about a year back as a full paying customer)

Address: Strada Mureșenilor 3 Brașov 500026, Romania +40 721 305 261

Google location map:

My blog address:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

'Indian restaurants in Santiago, Chile' by K.J.S.Chatrath

Santiago, Chile

On reaching a new city abroad what I try to find out first is the list of Indian restaurants in town. I am sure many Indians do the same. At times the hotel reception is knowledgeable and helps.

Indian Ambassador to Chile, H.E. Mr. Debraj Pradhan has taken a welcome initiative in this regard. He has got put a list and addresses of Indian restaurants in Santiago, Chile on the website of the Embassy. Thank you Your Excellency.

Here is the list of Indian Restaurants in Santiago (arranged alphabetically) reproduced from that website.

DELHI DARBAR 11 de Septiembre 2345, Santiago, Chile Tel. 3218102

GOVINDA Ricardo Cumming 643, Santiago, Chile Tel: 6956367 Website:* Email: Cel: 90737211/ 82553680 (Maharaj) Contact person: Mr. Cesar Cisternas

JEWEL OF INDIA Av. Manuel Montt 1007, Providencia, Santiago, Chile Tel: 9851000 / 9865800 Cel.: 94340395 Email:

MAJESTIC Santo Domingo 1526, Santiago, Chile Tel: 6909400 Fax: 6974051 Email:

MAJESTIC Mirador del Alto, Mall Alto Las Condes, Santiago, Chile Tel: 2131422 Email:

PASAJE A INDIA Luis Pasteur 6583, Local 5, Santiago, Chile Tel: 2194778 Email:

RISHTEDAR Holanda 160,Providencia, Santiago, Chile Tel: 2313257

SAFFRON INDIA DELICACIES Av. Nueva Costanera 3664, Vitacura, Santiago Tel. 2502 2020 / 2502 0037 E-Mail:

SALAAM BOMBAY RESTAURANT Av. Rancagua 390, Providencia, Santiago, Chile Tel: 2259917 / 07-8618731 Email:**

SOUL OF INDIA Vitacura 4111, Santiago, Chile Tel: 2282825 / 09-7777832 Email: /

SYAM Av. Apoquindo 3307, Local 14, El Golf, Las Condes, Santiago, Chile Tel: 3338719 Email:

* This blogspot has not been updated after 2009

** This blogspot has not been updated after 2007.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

'Nisarga Garden' excellent Karnataka food restaurant in, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India' by K.J.S.Chatrath

I had ruefully notice some time back what I personally perceive to be a downhill slipping in the food quality at Bengaluru’s iconic M.T.R. While in the town, I tried a number of other eating places. I was pleasantly surprised to find an excellent one quite near to where I was staying. It is placed called ‘Nisarga’ which in Kannada means nature or prakriti. Incidentally there are three 'Nisarga' restaurants in the city. The one I visited is called 'Nisarga Garden' and is located on the Infantry Road.

Here I saw greenery, garden, cooking in front of you, cleanliness, self-help standing or sitting and an enclosure where one can order and be served at the table and of course excellent food sensibly priced.

The standard one vada and two idlees. The mint/curd chutney was excellent and so was the sambar- thick sharp with a dash of sweetness. I had to order an encore.
I stood mesmerized seeing dosas being prepared.
Dosas were in two forms.
The dosa, chutney and sambar were just sublime.
The thali meal was nice to look at, tasty and substantial.

And to end, an ultimate in coffee taste – a little glass of pure filter coffee. What? Did you say ‘Starbucks’? Don’t be ‘dumb’ and irreverent to the best coffee in the world – the South Indian Filter Coffee! The Americans just do not know what real coffee is!

By the way, I was a full paying customer when I visited this restaurant in January 2014.

Useful Information:

Nisarga Garden Veg Restaurant, Opposite Police Commissioner’s Office, Infantry Road, Bengaluru, Karnataka. Phone: 080 2228 9563.

Microsoft location map:

A shorter version of this article was earlier put up on my website

. . . . . . . . . .

My blog address:


Monday, November 17, 2014

'Visit to Jaipur Restaurant, Marseilles, France' by K.J.S.Chatrath

Walking in the Vieux Port area of Marseilles, I just could not miss signboard of an Indian restaurant.

Since it was early for dinner, I spent some time enjoying the fantastic view of the old port and returned when it was beginning to get dark.

We in India are used to expecting water to be the starting point of any meal, before even placing the order. I had just travelled through some South American countries for a month and a half and found that no free drinking water was served with the meals in the restaurants. The same is true of restaurants in Europe and in France*. Of course an old provision in the Napoleonic Code makes it the responsibility of the restaurants in France to offer free drinking water to the guests. Well I was thrilled when an Indian looking gentleman brought a big jug of water and a glass. By the way please do take a look at lights of the port in background of this photo.
I had a look at the menu. It was not a cheap place to dine. I chose 'Thali' thinking that it would give me a fair idea of various dishes prepared and served in the restaurant. Another consideration was that ordering various dishes seperately would make the bill swell to a level uncomfortable for me. When asked about how 'Masala' (spices) I would like in the meal, I opted for a safe 'medium masala'
While ordering a drink I nostalgically asked for an Indian beer and soon a bottle of the familiar 'Kingfisher' was on my table.
The 'Thali' arrived soon. The food looked good but was of excessively red colour. 'Samosa', the starter was very ordinary and fairly spicy. The rice was very long grain but did not have the scent of Indian basmati. Mutton was not fully cooked and nor was the chicken.
The 'tandoori roti' (Indian bread baked in oven) was really good- one of the best that I have had in a long time. A slice of cheese seemed to have been put in the roti before baking and it had melted in the oven giving an excellent taste and flavour.
The three 'chutneys' were OK and very mildly spicy, keeping in view the European clientele. Before leaving I exchanged a few words with the gentleman serving the food. I complimented him on the choice of location for the restaurant. He discclosed that it was started about two decades ack and the management was lucky to have got this location I further enquired about the choice of 'Jaipur' as restaurant's name. He explained that the most popular tourist destination for the French tourists in India was the Golden Triangle -Delhi-Agra and Jaipur and thus the French were aware of Jaipur even though the restaurant did not specialize in Rajasthani cuisine.

I thanked and left walking towards my hotel.

If you travel to Marseilles, try out 'Jaipur'.

As advertised by the restaurant, it is an Indian Pakistani restaurant. It serves daily lunch and dinner except on mondays and tuesdays for lunch. The restaurant serves Halal meat. To make your reservation, please call / Free bottle of champagne (offer valid only on reservation and if all meals are composed of starters + dishes + desserts) for group of 6 persons onwards. There is an offer of 10% off on the takeaway. Free home delivery. (Please see the website of the restaurant given below)

Google Location Map:,5.3732238,15z

Restaurant's website:

By the way, I was a full paying customer when I visited this restaurant in October 2014.

A shorter version of this article was earlier put up on my website:

My blog address:

. *Prof. Jacques Weber of Nantes University, France has, on reading the above, advised me that 'If you want free drinking water in a French Restaurant, just ask for “une carafe d’eau”. Bread is free in French restaurants, but you have to pay it in many European countries.' Thank you Prof. Weber. . .

Sunday, November 16, 2014

'Indian restaurants around the world' by K.J.S.Chatrath

Hungry Kya?

I will be back soon with an account of my visit to 'Jaipur Restaurant' in Marseilles, France.