Poke your head through the door of this popular Kyobashi restaurant and you’ll surely swoon. A mingling of Indian spices fills the air, colourful carpets hang from dark blue walls, the floors are tiled and turquoise, and south Indian music at a low volume helps create a tranquil, almost meditative vibe. It’s an alluringly romantic environment – but it doesn’t come close to upstaging the food. The chefs, lured to Tokyo during recruitment sessions in the Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, produce magnificent south Indian cuisine.
The masala dosa, a crêpe made with fermented rice and lentil batter, is a featherlight funnel containing a potato, onion and green chilli filling. It’s to be broken into crispy shards, dipped into sambar (spicy lentil soup) and a coconut dip, and eaten with hands. The staff insist that they don’t dilute the authentic spiciness of South Indian cooking for Japanese palates; indeed several of the curries that form the beautifully presented set menu – a range of nine items served on a banana leaf – pack quite some punch.
Included are chicken, fish and prawn curries; poriyal (shallow-fried diced vegetables), plain and spinach puri (deep fried unleavened bread), basmati rice and a papadum. If you’re not in the mood for a curry, there’s a tandoor oven in the kitchen for grilled meats, vegetables and paneer cheese – but whatever you choose from the menu, you’re sure to get some of the finest Indian food in Japan.