The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Indian @ Nawab, Tokyo

Kim visited Tokyo for the weekend and stayed at our place. On Saturday night, we brought her to Nawab, an Indian restaurant just a few minutes' walk from our apartment. We'd first stumbled upon this gem a few weeks' ago when we'd just moved into our new apartment. One of the best things about this small restaurant is that the chefs and most of the waiters are Indian, ensuring that this place can serve pretty authentic Indian fare and not just watered down Japanised versions. Of course, I'm sure that they do cater to the mild Japanese tastebuds, but the option is there for those of us who want a stronger spicy kick. I have often wondered if Nawab has a strong clientele base in this area, where I haven't encountered many gaijin (foreigners).

The ambience was wonderful, and this place offered lovely warmth from the chilly December air outside. Service was impeccable, as always in Japan. There were occasional points of slight confusion on both sides as to whether we should communicate in English or Japanese, but the staff spoke great English and there were English copies of the menu (although I was the only one who was handed a menu in Japanese, an occurence that I am already used to in Japan). The menu offering is quite extensive, and prices were very reasonable, which I'm sure is largely due to Nawab's location in this quiet part of Tokyo as opposed to the more crowded and subsequently more expensive regions of Tokyo like Roppongi and Shibuya. Expect to pay 1500-2000円 (~AU$15-$20) per person for a very satisfying meal. Although all three of us love hot spicy dishes, we didn't order very spicy ones since Kim had to sit for an important exam the next day and she didn't want to deal with any toilet issues.

The Chicken Tikka arrived at our table sizzling on a hot plate. We ordered four pieces, which was 1200円 (the two pieces option was 650円). The chicken was moist and bursting with all the spicy flavours - it was delicious. Next came the Chicken Briyani (1150円), one of my favourite Indian dishes. It was a very tasty dish, with its only shortcoming being that short-grained Japanese rice was used, which meant that the rice was moist and slightly sticky instead of the fluffy separated long-grained goodness that I'm used to. It was a perfectly fine dish on its own, but not the briyani that I love.

Chicken Tikka; and Chicken Briyani:

Kim ordered Dahl Spinach (900円), which was perfect for our order of Plain Naan (350円). The dahl was delicious and flavourful, but I wonder if it is easy to source lentils in Japan. Perhaps that would account for why this dish was relatively pricey. The naan, by the way, was super fluffy and soft, with a texture much like most Japanese shokupan which is famously soft. Whilst I wouldn't associate soft and fluffy with typical naan, it did a brilliant job at sopping up all the yummy dahl. Rob loved the Mughlai Naan (700円) (with cashew and raisin stuffing) from our first visit, and he is of the opinion that it is the only variety of naan worth ordering.

Dahl Spinach with plain naan; and Mughlai Naan:

The total bill came to just over 5000円 for three people (including mango lassi), and all of us were quite full. Nawab is a great find, and I'm glad it's so close to our apartment.

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