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    The Indian Kitchen brings a touch of the contemporary to traditional Indian flavours

    After lying unoccupied for nearly two years except for being home to a bank, and a coffee shop on the outside, Oak Shot Place on MG Road is now home to Indian Kitchen, Siddharth Poojari’s new venture. It’s a nifty looking place, with interesting art on the walls and exposed wooden panels and beams that run around the restaurant at a mezzanine level, and comfortable seating. There’s nothing complicated about the menu — simple Indian food from different parts of the country, from popular dishes to slightly uncommon ones, is what you get here. The recipes have been mostly acquired from different households, as Poojari was adamant about keeping the flavours grounded. “No excessive oil, or too much drama. The food here is meant to be simple, and flavoursome, and yet give you something new each time you visit,” he says.

    I didn’t count, but was told that there are nearly 150 dishes on the menu – slightly ambitious I might add, but then when it comes to eating out, most Bengalureans are always looking for variety. To begin with, the sarson ke phool (broccoli tossed in mustard and nutmeg) is delicious. The toned down pungency of the mustard, and the hint of spice does add a punch to the broccoli. Along with that, the palak papdi kebab (spinach and cashew croquettes) served with mint chutney makes for a good start on a rainy damp evening.

    However it was the dal pakwan that stole my heart. A Sindhi preparation, this basic combination of chana dal, served with sweet chutney, chopped onions, and a flattened crisp puri, I am pretty willing to eat this breakfast dish any time of the day. And yes, the chunks of roasted sweet potato glazed in tamarind and dates, (read: shakarkand ki chaat) is another dish I’d recommend, along with the soft shell crab pepper fry. Cooked Malwani style, with lots of browned onions, curry leaves, and freshly ground pepper, this preparation is spot on, if you like the taste of pepper that is.

    There’s a full bar here, and some interesting signature cocktails to choose from. Most of these have some Indian twist or the other. Or you could settle for some of the classics, or a glass of wine if you like.

    The main course takes some thinking. I went with the gosht-e-chukandar, which was a good decision. This Kashmiri dish where beetroot is given ample importance, is such a lovely break from the rogan josh, which frankly I am quite tired of. Eat it with any of the Indian breads and you won’t need anything else. I was of course also tempted by shorshe machh (fish cooked in mustard gravy) cooked in a more Oriya style than Bengali. That and steamed rice, and one is a happy soul.

    Don’t finish your meal without trying their version of the malpua and rabdi, and the payesh (Bengali kheer). They come as part of the dessert platter, and will have you leaving the place with a big grin.
    Rs.2,000 (meal for two). At MG Road. Details: 25598995

    — Priyadarshini Nandy

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