The quest for good Indian curry continues! Namaste Taj Mahal in Fushimi is certainly a contender; lovely creamy curries, giant naan breads, super friendly staff and some of the tastiest samosas I have ever devoured.
And devour them I did. I’m not kidding about those samosas. You might think, “Oh come on! It’s just a bit of pastry with potato, onion and peas in it.” However, these deep-fried tetrahedral delights really do surpass expectation! Seriously. It is worth visiting this restaurant just to order their samosas.
They don’t mess about with their naan bread either. Below is a cheese naan (left), and Mewby cradling a plain naan. As you can see, it’s massive.
And here are their wonderful curries, in order; Butter Chicken, Vegetable Curry, Mutton Korma, Fish Masala and Prawn Palak.
To give you an idea of the price range, on our last visit we had two curries, a plain & cheese naan, samosas, two lassis and three beers and it came to 6,290 yen. I think that’s a pretty good deal for top quality (and plentiful!) Indian food. If you go at lunchtime it’s even cheaper with a variety of lunchtime sets from 650 yen up.
Namaste Taj Mahal is a short walk west of the Keihan Fushimi Inari station. Here is a map. They are open seven days a week.
Mewby and I ventured over to this fine establishment one evening when Sharma was closed and we were badly in need of a curry fix. Hands down this is the best Indian food I’ve eaten in Kyoto. The service is excellent too. The waiter (a charming, soft spoken chap) actually took the time to talk us through the various items on the menu and give his own recommendations. Here’s what we got.
Vegetable Samosas ~ I can't eat Indian without them!
Machli Tikka - delicious grilled pieces of spicy white fish!
Mewby's choice ~ Mutton Saagwala ~ Mutton cooked in spinach.
My choice ~ Vegetable Jalfry ~ mixed veggies cooked in onion & tomato sauce.
All served with delicious herb naan bread.
Kerala isn’t cheap, but you get what you pay for and I think it was worth every yen I spent in there. If you feel like paying a little bit extra and spoiling yourself to the very best curry in town, this is the place for it. You can check the menu and prices for yourself here. How satisfied were we? Just take a look at that happy smiling face!
Kerala is situated on the second floor of the KUS building a short walk south of Oike on the west side of Kawaramachi. Click here for a map and coupons!
Open: “almost every day” (best to call ahead to be sure) 11:30～14:00, 17:00～21:00 Tel: 075-251-0141
Since moving into the city centre last year, Mewby and I have been searching for an Indian curry restaurant to take the place in our culinary affections of the Raju restaurant up on Imadegawa. We had high hopes for the new branch of Raju on Shichijo that opened up late last year, until upon our second visit some twit put chicken in my Vegetarian Dinner Set and then made the worst apology ever; grinning and constantly repeating “Don’t mind”. Thilaga near Oomiya station was in the running too for a while, but eating their admittedly tasty curries is like playing a game of Indian curry roulette; sometimes disappointingly mild and on other occasions hell-fire spicy. Now perhaps, though we have only visited once so far, the Sharma restaurant on Sanjo will turn out to be a favorite.
We ordered a couple of starters to begin with. I cannot eat Indian food without eating samosas and these did not disappoint.
This Fish Tikka (made with Sea Bass) though, was really delicious.
I followed this up with a sweet tasting Shitafal, Sharma’s very own original pumpkin curry.
The Kaju Nan (with cashew nuts) accompanied it nicely.
Mewby went for a Mugal Chicken. Curiously she reported that it tasted very much like the pumpkin curry above… It kind of looks like it too, eh?
After that feast we went home and had a bit of a lie down. To sum up, after only one visit it’s hard to judge, but the food seems nice (the fish tikka being a highlight) and the staff most courteous and professional. We shall definitely be giving Sharma another try.
Sharma sits on the north side of Sanjo between Kiyamachi and Kawaramachi. Here is a handy map.
Mewby found this place one night on the net when she was really craving curry. The first thing that struck me was “They can’t spell Indian”. But somehow that only made me like them all the more. It gave the place an air of earnest innocence and besides spelling is not important in an Indian restaurant. Curry is. Curry is everything.
However, I’m not quite sure what to say about Thilaga‘s curry. The food is obviously excellent tastewise (or I wouldn’t bother blogging it) but the spice levels are dramatically inconsistent. Continue reading →
UPDATE January 30th 2012: This is not something I like to do, but having experienced consistently poor service at Raju restaurants at different locations my former enthusiasm for their food has completely vanished. The infamous occasion at their Shichijo branch when I was served chicken in a vegetarian curry and told “Don’t mind” should have been enough. Being told I could not use the drink coupon that I had brought with me to pay for my beer, because they had given me a “service” chai (which I neither wanted nor drank) merely added insult to injury and on that occasion I swore never to visit that particular branch again. However, on Saturday at their Imadegawa branch, we walked in to find it as cold on the inside as it was outdoors and customers were sitting at tables with their coats on, actually shaking as they ate their food. We asked them to turn on the heating and they told us it would heat up in five minutes but after 30 minutes it was still freezing cold and they had completely forgotten to bring our drinks. When I asked about the drinks in Japanese, and then in English, it was clear that the man who served me couldn’t understand either language. So we walked out. Shabby service means you lose customers and get a bad reputation. I don’t believe it is entirely the fault of the staff however. The blame lies with the owner, who in his eagerness to open more and more branches is neglecting to invest in adequate staff training. He also seems to be cutting costs by turning off the heating. So, Mr. Rajas, your chain is on the blacklist. But fear not Indian curry fans! For really good curry, at reasonable prices, and excellent service, let me point you in the direction of three very fine Indian restaurants: Kerala, Mughal and Namaste Taj Mahal.
The following should now be disregarded.
Prior Post (May 13, 2008):Raju, just off Hyakumanben is an Indian restaurant I have been frequenting quite a lot recently. It serves good food at reasonable prices and has a pleasantly sophisticated atmosphere (so no TVs playing Bollywood videos). Here are some pictures.
If you are hungry enough and want to try a little bit of everything the sets are a good deal. A vegetarian set comes at ￥1,300 and includes a salad, samosa, papado, three curries, yoghurt, nan bread, rice and a mango lassi to wash it all down. Or you might like to try the Rajesh course for ￥2,000 and enjoy all of the above plus a Tandoori set (lots of meat) and soup. Beer aficionados will be interested to note that in addition to the usual beer on draft they also have a selection of bottled Indian beers plus Turkish Efes. In general the food here is spicy but not too hot. If you like your curry to burn you can ask for extra spices (but it will cost a little extra too).