I must have walked past House of Curry dozens of times, taking mental notes of how I must try this place; mesmerized by the calming blue and white interiors that one just can’t look away from! Last night, when I finally stepped in, I teleported to a completely different world. It looks less like a restaurant and more like a decades old sun-kissed Haveli of a Mughal descendant.
The menu was just as impressive, and the variety of choices are mind-boggling. Since this was a tasting, we were lucky enough to sample a huge variety of items in smaller quantities; enough for me to confidently conclude that House of Curry is here to stay.
We started off with a selection of grills, and not a single one of them disappointed. The Tandoori Lobster was exactly what you’d hope for it to be; the Trio of (King) Fish was a big hit on our table, as none of the three distinctly different seasonings were overpowering the flavor of the perfectly cooked fish itself (a rare occurrence when it comes to Subcontinental cooking where spice is the favorite ingredient); the Tandoori Lamb Chops crumbled off the bone and melted in our mouths, the Mutton Seekh Kebabs were beautifully seasoned and fragrant, the Murgh Malai Kabab were literally as silky and delicious as eating chicken flavored cream, and my favorite: the Tandoori Prawns– two of my favorite words and flavors, side by side. Yum.
One very interesting item that I have never tried nor heard of before, was the Mini Prawn Kolivada. These were tiny prawns, deep fried in a spicy gram flour batter- so basically, prawn-Pakora-popcorn? Big fat yes. This was like nothing I’ve ever had before, and our server told us it’s a very popular North Indian bar snack. The only turn-off was that with shrimps/prawns that tiny, one can’t gut them, and I find that very unappetizing.
The Biryani was the most underwhelming part of our meal. It didn’t have a lot of flavor or any oomph whatsoever.
The curries, however. Oh my, oh my- those curries, sigh! It now makes sense to me why the Thaali is so popular in India: it’s probably because there are so MANY delicious things to try, that one must have them ALL!
We sampled some curries that are internationally associated with Indian food, and other curries which were unheard of by us but stole the show at first bite.
- Butter Chicken, I’ve never been a fan of this dish but my friends just could not have enough of the Butter Chicken last night.
- Fish in Green Curry, had fillet of King fish, in a fragrant blend of celery, coriander, mint and coconut milk- it was interesting to say the least, and absolutely sublime!
- Goan Prawn Curry was something a coconut-lover would want to swim in. It was so GOOD! It was extremely coconutty and had a hint of sweetness to it. It even had desiccated coconut mixed into the curry for the most velvety texture! It was not very spicy, as the chillies used in this are called “Kashmiri Chili”- which, as the name suggests, come from Kashmir, but are very mild and add vibrant color to the dish. This curry had depth of flavor that will drown you in umami.
- Daal Makhni was actually quite unusual for its kind: it was a blend of 3 lentils and also had Kashmiri Chili in its base. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the best Daal Makhni I’ve tasted.
- Chicken Tikka Masala: You’ll find this item on every single Indian menu, and understandably so. House of Curry’s take on this infamous dish was tangy, spicy, and made us want to lick our fingers clean.
- The Crab Masala Curry was M’s biggest reason to rejoice last night- well, that and his young coconut. This heavily onion-based curry with cashew paste was ridiculously flavorful and pleasantly fragranced with Bay leaves- but that wasn’t his favorite part. We were provided with gloves to handle the meaty crab, and M was SO pleased that he decided to eat his ENTIRE meal with gloves on, so that he would not have to worry about washing his hands afterwards -_- He was having way too much fun to be unnerved by any of my embarrassed glares, haha!
- And last but not the least, the famous Roghan Josh, a most flavorsome lamb curry which has over 15 spices in it, including the “Kitchen King”- a blend of over a dozen spices, imported from India itself. Apparently, Kitchen King is a staple in most (if not all) Indian kitchens. Oh….that probably explains the name!
We polished away the above curries with an assortment of Roti, and the the cutest, softest little Phulkas.
Worry not though, there’s always room for dessert, and we were brought not one, but 6 scoops of ice cream, along with the most perfectly balanced Gaajar ka Halwa and Gulaab Jamun. The great thing about the last two desserts was that they had the perfect textures, and were just the right amount of sweet. The ice-cream is homemade by a Gujrati gentleman in Dubai, and comprised of some very unique flavors, such as Mikhwaas, Rose, and….Green Chili! Honestly though, I wasn’t a fan, as it felt more watery than creamy, and when I return to House of Curry (which is only a matter of time), I’ll definitely go for a more traditional dessert instead.
Overall, House of Curry is definitely one of my prided discoveries, and will be a first to come to mind when shortlisting the best places to eat at in JBR!