Indian

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Fresh Dabba Indian Cuisine’ Founder Asif Fazal wanted to bring an Indian Meal Delivery Service to Central Florida. He called “Fresh Dabba”. Dabba is the term used for an Indian lunch box.

“Our service runs on a daily rotating menu so each day is different. We have a wide range of dishes but some of the most popular are Chicken Tikka Masala, Biryani, Palak Paneer, Daal, Mixed Vegetable Curry, Goat Korma, various tandoori BBQ items in chicken, beef, lamb, and fish. We also feature many popular Indian appetizers such as Samosas, Pakoras, and Kababs. In addition, we have a range of dessert including Gulab Jamun, Jalabi, and Ras Malai,” Asif Fazal, founder of Fresh Dabba told us.

A “dabba” is a tradition tiered Indian Lunch box with each tier containing a separate portion of the meal. There is an appetizer, a starter, the main, and rice/naan.

“We are a caterer so we don’t have dine-in or pick-up. The Fresh Dabba service is a delivery only service. Customers can see a weekly posted menu with each day featuring a non-vegetarian dish and a vegetarian dish. They select which day or days they would like the meals delivered and it arrives during our delivery time-frame between 12:30pm-3pm. The order is placed by at least the day before and delivery is free. Our price points are $10 for a non-vegetarian dabba and $9 for a vegetarian dabba.”

“We found that amongst the Indian Restaurants around, none of them deliver and to get a full meal which contains as much as one of our Dabbas would be quite expensive. We offer a great price point and free delivery. We are looking to roll out our service to the public within 1-2 weeks as we finish up the online ordering platform.”

Visit them:
www.freshdabba.com
www.facebook.com/FreshDabba

We had some UCF students from the Gaming Knights club try some of the foods as well! Watch their reactions in the Youtube Video below!

1. Kuku Paka
A coconut chicken curry made with puréed onions and bell peppers, Appetizer was a meat somosa.
2. Mixed vegetable spinach curry
Appetizer was pakora (Battered and fried vegtables)
3. Afghani rice with BBQ chicken tikka and lamb mushkaki, served with mayonnaise mint sauce

Mr. Asif Fazal of Fresh Dabba

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Kuku Paka
A coconut chicken curry made with puréed onions and bell peppers, Appetizer was a meat somosa. DSC_9188

Kuku Paka
A coconut chicken curry made with puréed onions and bell peppers, Appetizer was a meat somosa. DSC_9189 DSC_9190

BBQ chicken tikka and lamb mushkaki DSC_9195

Afghani rice with BBQ chicken tikka and lamb mushkaki, served with mayonnaise mint sauce DSC_9196

Mixed vegetable spinach curry
Appetizer was pakora (Battered and fried vegtables) DSC_9198 DSC_9199

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One of the newest, and I’d have to say one of my favorite, Indian restaurants in town – American Gymkhana – has announced that it will close after this April. It’s sad news for the space that once held Raga and Antonio’s before it. It’s a tough location, to be sure. With time, and maybe a different space, it would have done well. And that may still happen – if everything falls in place.

A few months ago, I stopped by for brunch and found it to be delightful – from lobster poached eggs benedicts to the bombay style wraps stuffed with tandoori chicken. Chef Aarthi Sampath did a wonderful job in the kitchen, who started at a culinary internship with Junoon, a Michelin-starred Indian concept in Manhattan, New York.

Meanwhile mixologist Hemant Pathak, who has been featured in GQ Magazine and ELLE Magazine, tended the craft cocktails menu to great acclaim.

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Chef Aarthi Sampath

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House Kale Salad

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Juhu Beach Lobster Benny – tandoori lobster / roasted corn / masala poached egg / pao bread

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The Mumbai Franki, a wrap stuffed with chicken, red onions, sweet peppers, garlic aioli and flaky paratha.

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Official statement follows:

OFFICIAL STATEMENT
From: Rajesh Bhardwaj
Re: American Gymkhana Closing Announcement
Date: Thursday, April 9, 2015

“Since the opening of American Gymkhana, a modern-Indian restaurant and cocktail lounge in 2014, the concept has flourished and has been well-received by the Central Florida community. Our team takes great pride in what we have built, so it is with regret to announce that due to operational and brand discrepancies with local partners involved, American Gymkhana will no longer be open for business after April 2015 in its current location. The decision to withdraw our concept and restaurant group from this project was made after considerate deliberation regarding our brand standards. We look forward to pursuing new ventures in the future within the growing food and beverage community in Orlando.”

“Please note this closing will not impact or influence our other restaurants operating outside of Florida. Again, we thank all guests, organizations, journalists, and specifically, the residents of Central Florida for allowing for us serve the community and be part of a growing food culture.”

– RB Hospitality Group

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My lunch buffet plate

Royal Indian Cuisine recently opened just north of Howell Branch Road on Semoran Blvd / SR 436 in Casselberry in the former location of Brick and Fire Pizza.

I recently visited for lunch, when they serve a lunch buffet for $9.95. Though they had a buffet cart with various vegetarian and meat dishes available for self-serve, the service was still quite courteous and genial.

I found the food to be quite good, from the garlic naan bread, biryani rice, tandoori chicken, and paneer to the chicken tikka masala. All in all, I would visit again, and maybe ask for some more spice in my dishes.

I think my favorite was the paneer masala dish, which reminded me a lot of tofu. Paneer is an unaged, non-melting Indian cheese or curd cheese made by curdling heated milk with lemon juice, vinegar, or any other food acids

They are open Tuesday through Sundays for Lunch Buffet: 11.30 AM-3.00 PM and Dinner: 5.00PM-10.00 PM

Royal Indian Cuisine - Closed Mondays
Royal Indian Cuisine – Closed Mondays
Fruits, chutneys, yogurts
Fruits, chutneys, yogurts
Vegetarian and Meat dishes
Vegetarian and Meat dishes

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Lovely fluffy naan
Lovely fluffy naan
My lunch buffet plate
My lunch buffet plate

http://www.royalindianorlando.com/

Royal Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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Each culture typically has a rice dish: the Spanish introduced Paella to the world; the Italians shared the wonders of Risotto; in Latin America, the Arroz con Pollo dish is ubiquitous, with variations based on the landscape and availability of ingredients indigenous to a particular region. Central and East Asia is no exception to the variations on rice dishes.

Biryani is a layered rice dish, said to have originated in Persia, but is now typically associated with Indian cuisine. While there are countless ways to prepare a Biryani, the following version is adapted for a relatively “short” cooking time, and incorporates the use of a home oven, rather than to fumble with the temperaments of a stove top or open flame to achieve a uniform, consistent, and quality result.

This recipe serves 4 adults.

1. Marinate 3 lbs of bone-in chicken. I used leg quarters, with the majority of the skin removed, and cut up into smaller pieces (i.e. each leg quarter was split into 4 pieces). You can substitute lamb or beef for the chicken, in which case each piece should “stew” sized.

The marinate consists of 1 cup plain yogurt (any brand of variety will suffice, including Greek style yogurt), 2 tablespoons of ground cumin, 2 tablespoons of ground coriander, 1 tablespoon of garam masala, 1 tablespoon of turmeric, 3 tablespoons of a mixture of fresh garlic and fresh ginger ground up, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, 1 tablespoon of red chili powder, and 1 tablespoon of salt.

You can get most of these ingredients, at a relatively low price, at any Indian (or ethnic) grocery store. Feel free to add or omit any ingredients. Alternatively, you can purchase a “Biryani Spice Packet” at Indian grocery store. You want to add an abundance of spices and aromatics to the chicken as the main source of flavor for the entire dish is sourced from the marinade.

Marinate the chicken (or other meat) for at least 24 hours.

2. On the date you plan to make the Biryani, slice and fry one large onion. Be sure to add salt to the onions after they’re fried. Spread the fried onions in a single layer on paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Carefully reserve some of the onion-scented frying oil.

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3. Roughly chop 1 cup cilantro and 1 cup mint.

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4. Arrange the marinated chicken in a single layer in a heavy-bottomed dish. I use this La Creuset dutch oven. Add 2 tablespoons of the onion-scented oil to the bottom of the pan before adding the marinated chicken. Preheat your oven to 385 degrees.

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5. Add a layer of the fried onions, mint, and cilantro on top of the marinated chicken.

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6. Wash (until clear) and soak 2 cups of Basmati rice in warm water for 30-60 minutes.

7. Start boiling a large pot of water with much more water than necessary to cover / cook the rice (much like you would make spaghetti or pasta). Add 1 teaspoon of whole cumin, 1 tablespoon of the onion-scented oil, and salt to the water. Although not essential, you may include any other aromatics to the water, including bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, cloves, garam masala or leftover biryani spices.

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8. Lightly toast 1 cup of the soaked rice in the onion-scented oil with 1 teaspoon of cumin.

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9. Add the remainder of the washed and soaked rice and the lightly toasted rice to the boiling water for 2-3 minutes. The rice will only cook to 20 percent doneness, with the balance of the cooking time to be completed with the chicken. Quickly drain the rice or remove it with a slotted spoon or colander to avoid cooking the rice for more than 3 minutes.
Arrange the par-boiled rice in a single layer on top of the marinated chicken and top with the remainder of the cilantro, mint and fried onions. If available, add a few threads of saffron, soaked in 1 tablespoon of warm milk over the rice.

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10. Cover the dish with a tightly-fitting lid. If the lid is not heavy or does not have a tight seal, add a weight to the lid or include a layer of aluminum foil between the lid and the pot to “seal” the dish.
Cook the dish for 10 minutes over medium heat. Do not re-open the pot or disturb the lid. The moisture in the chicken marinate, as well as the little oil you added beneath the chicken should prevent any scorching or burning.

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11. After 10 minutes on the stove-top, transfer the entire dish to the oven and bake at 385 degrees for 45 minutes. If you’re using beef or lamb, increase the cooking time to 60 minutes.

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12. Remove the dish after 45 minutes and let it rest on counter (without heat) for 5-10 minutes. Do not remove the lid yet. After resting period, your Biryani should be fluffy and perfect and ready to serve. The chicken and rice will finish cooking at the same time, with the goal being for the chicken to fall apart with very gently pressure (i.e. “fall off the bone”) and the rice, being perfectly cooked, loose and fluffy.

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chirag

Chirag B. Kabrawala is founder of The Kabrawala Law Group PLLC (www.cbklawgroup.com) and practices in the areas of business law and real estate law. He devotes a significant area of his legal practice to the needs of hotel, restaurant and resort developers and operators.

Chirag is one of the principal members of a group that is developing a new restaurant, expected to open in December 2014, that will emphasize on freshly-made pasta and wood-fired pizzas cooked in the Napoletana style, exclusively in hand-built Stefano Ferrara ovens imported from Italy.

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TastyChomps Mini Travel Guide Visit To London, England – Series
Part 1 – The Tourist Sights of London, England, including Stonehenge, Bath, and Windsor Castle
Part 2 – Chowzter’s Global Fast Feast Awards 2014 in London, England
Part 3 – A Food Lovers’ Feast at London’s Borough Market and Broadway Market
Part 4 – London – Harrod’s Food Hall, Full English Breakfast, Fish and Chips, Tayyab’s

In our previous post, we explored London’s Borough and Broadway Markets. London has a rich food heritage that has evolved and changed with the tides of history. Don’t miss these four foodie places and dishes to try while visiting London.

Harrods – Food Halls

Whereas the East End of London has historically been known mostly for its huddled masses of the working class, on the other side of town, the West End has been known as the epicenter of luxury, filled with high end residential and commercial real estate, sitting close to the seat of power at Westminster Palace and just a few blocks away from Buckingham Palace.

It’s been said that the “City” of London where the financial district is centered is where the money is made, and the west of London is where it’s spent.

Today, luxury retail stores from Cartier to Louis Vuitton line the streets.

It’s no wonder that Harrod’s was built in the West End near Hyde Park just before the Great Exhibition of 1851. The store grew in popularity ever since and later, was sold to Egyptian businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed in the 1980s, and more recently in 2010, to Qatar’s royal family.

Mr. Al-Fayed brought Hayyad’s to the present day by making the department store world famous for selling high quality, luxury wares to locals and tourists alike, often bringing in celebrities to increase prestige and attract publicity.

The store today occupies a 5-acre site and has over one million square feet of selling space in over 330 departments making it the biggest department store in Europe.

The most popular floor, at least for our readers, would be the world famous Harrod’s Food Halls on the bottom floor, comprising of seven specialist departments in five rooms ranging from fish, meat, and poultry, confectionaries, chocolates, bakery, tea, coffee, wine, fromage (cheeses), fruits and vegetables. There are also sit down restaurants for weary shoppers and voracious food lovers alike that include an oyster bar, sushi, and even fresh steamed dim sum. The array is stunning.

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Harrod’s

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Beef Wellington
Beef Wellington
Salmon en croute
Salmon en croute
Chocolates
Chocolates
Oyster
Oyster

Fish Central

Fish and chips is one of the national dishes of England, consisting of battered fish, commonly Atlantic cod or haddock, and deep-fried chips (slices of potato wedges).

Fish and chips became a stock meal among the working classes in the United Kingdom as a consequence of the rapid development of trawl fishing in the North Sea, and the development of railways which connected the ports to major industrial cities during the second half of the 19th century, which meant that fresh fish could be rapidly transported to the heavily populated areas.

In chip shops in the United Kingdom and Ireland, salt and vinegar is traditionally sprinkled over fish and chips at the time it is served.

Succulent and fresh, the cod at Fish Central is full of thick, white juicy flakes and a nice crispy batter on the outside. Truly, the golden standard of fish and chips in London.

 

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The friendly fellow folks at Chowzter! Getting ready for an amazing presentation from Scott Wink of North Carolina.

Fried and battered fish hush puppies and anchovies
Fried and battered fish hush puppies and anchovies

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Traditional condiments from salt and vinegar to tartar sauce
Traditional condiments from salt and vinegar to tartar sauce
Fish and Chips at Fish Central - truly wonderful
Fish and Chips at Fish Central – truly wonderful

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Chef and proprietor of Fish Central
Chef and proprietor of Fish Central

 

Fish Central on Urbanspoon

The Breakfast Club

A full English breakfast, also known as a “fry-up” as nearly everything in this dish is fried in a pan, is regarded as a staple of traditional British and Irish cuisine. Many British and Irish cafés and pubs serve the meal at any time as an “all-day breakfast”. There are also regional variations like the full Scottish, full Welsh, full Irish and the Ulster fry including local dishes in the breakfast .A traditional full English breakfast includes bacon (traditionally back bacon), poached or fried eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread or toast with butter, sausage, black pudding, and baked beans.

I had the best rendition of a full English Breakfast at The Breakfast Club, off of a side street in Hoxton. The Breakfast Club felt like a hipster’s version of a diner, very cozy and comfortable place to dine in with nice servers and overall, friendly atmosphere.

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THE FULL MONTY
Bacon, sausage, black pudding, eggs, home-style fried potatoes, mushrooms, beans, grilled tomato and toasted multigrain bloomer 10.00

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Breakfast Club on Urbanspoon

Tayyab’s

Indian restaurants abound in London, particularly along the “Brick Lane” area. As it has gotten more touristy in recent years, some visitors have left wondering if they are still trying. It might be better to broaden the search for great Indian food outside of the famous Curry Brick Lane.

Founded in 1972, Tayyab’s is a family owned and run business in Whitechapel serving the finest in Punjabi cuisine. The food comes from the Punjab state in Northern India and Pakistan, and many of the dishes at Tayyab’s have a Pakistani flair to them – characterized by less saucy curries and more dry spices.

Just a few short blocks from the Tube station for Whitechapel (which may seem to be longer than normal in the rain), Tayyabs is off a rather unassuming street filled with kabob shops and other fast to go spots for the working man in this mostly South Asian neighborhood.

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Bright blue neon lights up the Tayyab’s sign and outside the black painted building a line starts to form. You always know a good time will be had when you see a line forming for food.

Inside, the restaurant itself is rather large with multiple levels for dining. We are seated inside next to a small party of friends. It’s BYOB here at Tayyab’s and some have brought their own bottles of wine and beer, with no corkage fees.

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The room is noisy, rowdy, filled with sizzling plates of chicken and lamb dishes. The ambiance was quite modern and chic, a little dark.

Service was not up to par, but I am accustomed to that now at most ethnic restaurants, sad to say. I know with Chinese culture at least, the restaurant business is not about the service, but about the food quality and how fast you can get in and out.

So I guess I shouldn’t have been a surprise to find our waiter missing for most of the meal, but at least, the few times we did see him he was pleasant. The thing that irked me the most was that it took me about four tries with four different waiters to finally get my bill to pay and by the end of it, I’d much rather have just got up and looked for the manager to sort it out and save the precious time.

On to the food, which was rather delightful and surprisingly different from what I’ve been accustom to in Orlando.

Naan bread, nice flavors from the garlic
Naan bread, nice flavors from the garlic

For an appetizer, I chose the signature Lamb Chops, a generous portion of savory, grilled lamb with red spices similar to a lamb chop tandoori style. Fabulous, and fun to eat with your hands.

Lamb chops, a great deal
Lamb chops, a great deal

The menu also features a selection of traditional Pakistani “Karahi” dishes cooked in a circular wok-like black metal dish called “karahi.” Each dish is simmered and prepared with spices and caramelized onions. The Karahi chicken tikka masala, for example, was found to be a little sweeter and a lot less “saucy” as the version found in other Indian restaurants, cooked almost dry with a little oil on the bottom of the dish and a combination of tomatoes, onions, chills, and I believe pineapple. If you told me that was chicken tikka masala, I would not have believed it from what I’ve tried before, so it was gratifying to see a different version of this popular “British” dish.

Overall, I would definitely return for the great dishes as well as the excellent price point and value. I believe it was the cheapest meal I had in London with the whole meal coming under 35£s. Would go again.

Tayyab's Karahi Chicken Tikka Masala
Tayyab’s Karahi Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken Karahi and Karahi Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken Karahi and Karahi Chicken Tikka Masala

Tayyabs on Urbanspoon

TastyChomps Mini Travel Guide Visit To London, England – Series
Part 1 – The Tourist Sights of London, England, including Stonehenge, Bath, and Windsor Castle
Part 2 – Chowzter’s Global Fast Feast Awards 2014 in London, England
Part 3 – A Food Lovers’ Feast at London’s Borough Market and Broadway Market
Part 4 – London – Harrod’s Food Hall, Full English Breakfast, Fish and Chips, Tayyab’s

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Dinner with friends at Tamarind

The pickings for Indian cuisine on the east side of Orlando has been slim for a while now, ever since Anmol was closed at the UC-17 plaza by UCF, bulldozed over for a new high rise student apartment complex.

Well, a new Indian restaurant has popped up in East Orlando to satisfy the curry cravings of our eagerly awaiting friends (myself included). And it just may be one of my new favorite Indian places in town…

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I recently dropped by Tamarind Indian Cuisine on Colonial Drive near Woodbury Road (formerly the second location of Cypriana Greek Restaurant) for lunch.

Their lunch buffet ($8.95) – with more than 12 different Indian dishes from vegetarian curries to meaty chicken dishes to naan and tandoori chicken – runs from 11:00 am till 3:00pm.

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If you may be thinking you’ve heard of an Indian restaurant named Tamarind around town before, it’s because this outpost is actually a sister restaurant to the Tamarind Indian Cuisine in Winter Park, owned by the same folks who also run Bombay Cafe on Orange Blossom Trail and Aashirwad near Kirkman. It is a venerable Indian empire stretching the four corners of Orange County, so you can be assured that this iteration has some tried and true practices when it comes to Indian food.

Interior of Tamarind Indian
Interior of Tamarind Indian

On my visit, the buffet had some truly tasty choices: from savory dishes like tandoori chicken, chicken tikka masala (or butter chicken as it’s known in some parts), and goat biryani (a spiced aromatic rice dish with origins in Persia) to veggie options like the aloo mutta with potatos and peas and the gobi manchurian (a kind of Chinese influenced sweet and sour veggie stir-fry mix dish). The idli, little rice cakes, were good but the consistency was a bit too sticky for me that afternoon. Overall, a varied and satisfying selection that day, which, I was told, changes daily.

Lunch buffet plate
Lunch buffet plate

For dessert, I had a nice, sweet mango kulfi ice cream.

Mango Kulfi Ice cream
Mango Kulfi Ice cream

One thing that stood out for me during my visit at Tamarind was the remarkably good service that I had experienced there. The waiters were friendly and accommodating and, all in all, very sincere which is a breath of fresh air when compared to most other Indian restaurants that I’ve been to.

Goat Biryani, an aromatic spiced rice dish with roots in Persia
Goat Biryani, an aromatic spiced rice dish with roots in Persia
Tandoori Chicken
Tandoori Chicken

On a second visit with friends for dinner, we ordered the chicken tandoori (baked in a clay oven, flavored with yogurt and dusted with red spices), chicken tikka masala (cooked in a creamy, delightful tomato based sauce),lamb roganjosh (a spicy, aromatic dish based out of the Kashmir region), and a side of garlic naan bread.

Dinner with friends at Tamarind
Dinner with friends at Tamarind
Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken Tikka Masala
Spicy Lamb Rogan Josh
Spicy Lamb Rogan Josh
Garlic Naan
Garlic Naan
Chicken Tandoori - cooked in a clay oven called the tandoor
Chicken Tandoori – cooked in a clay oven called the tandoor

We also ordered mysore masala dosa, a South Indian fermented crepe made from rice batter and black lentils, lathered here with spicy red chutney, and served with a cup of mixed potatoes and peas. The slightly sour and sweet dosa is a popular street food item in South India, rich with nutrients and fun to eat with your hands. The potato-pea mixture is wrapped in the flaky dosa and dipped in sambar, a vegetable stew made with tamarind popular in South Indian and Sri Lankan Tamil cuisines.

Mysore Masala Dosa, spicy and delicious vegetarian dish
Mysore Masala Dosa, spicy and delicious vegetarian dish

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Dinner was fabulous and I am very happy to report that we finally have a proper Indian restaurant on the East side of Orlando again! I hope to return again soon to satisfy those curry cravings…

Tamarind Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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Formerly the California Chicken Grill hole-in-the-wall off of Colonial Drive in East Orlando, Kurry & Kabab Express is the new hole-in-the-wall replacing the chicken grill joint.

With the departure of Anmol Indian Cuisine due to the destruction of the UC-17 plaza by UCF, the Indian food scene in East Orlando had quite the huge void left, one that ultimately could not be filled by Mughal Indian on Semoran by University.

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Kurry & Kabab Express is a small outpost of Indian cuisine that will satisfy your cravings for curry without setting off for the International Drive and Orange Blossom Trail Indian-food meccas in Orlando.

The location struck me as very hole in the wall-y with sparing decor of Bollywood film posters and a few, slightly stick tables and chairs and a buffet cart near the front. A large trash can is unappetizingly located right next to said cart – and I really wish they would move it further away from the food area.

On a recent visit for lunch, I had their lunch special that comes with two items.

I ordered the chicken tikka masala with dal lentils with basmati rice and naan bread.

I found the pillowy white basmati rice, sometimes a bit too dry, sometimes fragrant and soft. The chicken tikka masala was good, but I wish there was more spice to it or something to make the flavors jump more and maybe make it a little creamier.

The naan was very delicious and went well with everything as I tore and dipped into my curries.

On another occasion, I had the lamb kofta special with was delightfully tasty, but I found it a tad too dry and ultimately a little too pricey for what came with the meal.

I would probably return to try more and maybe ask for a spice rack on the side to adjust to my liking.

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Bollywood Film posters decor

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The lunch specials serving buffet cart, though this is not a buffet

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Goat with curry vegetables

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Chicken tikka masala with dal

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Naan bread

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Tamarind and another sauce

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Lamb kofta rice platter

Kurry & Kabab Express on Urbanspoon

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Strange name, BBQ Tonight.

I would expect there would be some braised beef, barbecue ribs, pulled pork, with a side of cornbread on its menu.

Nope, this is an Indo-Pakistani and Halal Chinese restaurant, serving up a different type of cue. The barbecue menu here refers to the flame grilled items like lamb kebabs, tandoori chicken, and other Indo-Pakistani style grilled meat platters.

In regards to the Chinese menu, I suppose there is Chinese food in every culture, each taking cues from local ingredients wherever the people may land. Peruvian Chinese food taking up potatos to make lomo saltado, American Chinese food taking up sugar and fried dough to make General Tso’s Chicken. For Indian Chinese food, I think the sweet and sour flavor is prominent in their dishes with many of the main vegetable ingredients accentuated, much like Gobi Manchurian consisting of deep fried cauliflower. I did not see the gobi manchurian on the menu, but I did see the chicken lolipop, a popular Indian Chinese dish made with fried chicken wings.

A family owned business located in the International Festival Plaza at the corner of International Drive and Kirkman Road, the restaurant is a bit hidden out of the way and hard to get to, especially sitting at the epicenter of the maddening traffic of I-Drive.

The decor was a bit forgettable – though it was very clean, the generic flooring and fluorescent lighting just was very humdrum.

The food likewise, was good, nothing to really complain about but overall nothing stood out.

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For lunch there is a buffet option for $9.95, consisting of a various Indian/Pakistani dishes like tandoori chicken, eggplant, biryani, and some typical fast food Chinese dishes like lo mein and stir fried beef. The meal comes with naan and rice to enjoy with. The tandoori chicken was very good, cooked fresh and moist, and overall very enjoyable as was the spicy lamb curry dish that they had that day.

My partner ordered the chicken tikka masala, which was delicious and filling, much larger than other places which is a positive. It is a great value for the price and was enjoyed the next day as well for lunch at home.

Service, though intermittent, was fair. The server came by once or twice to check on us but other than that it was a pretty bare bones experience at this restaurant. I would probably return to try more dishes.

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Chicken tandoori

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Naan

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Chicken Tikka Masala – pretty good though oily. Seems like Pakistani style chicken tikka masala is oily

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Garlic Naan

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Biryani rice with chicken

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BBQ Tonight on Urbanspoon

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Saffron is a relatively new Indian restaurant that opened in the “Restaurant Row” district in Orlando along Sand Lake Road. The decor and interior, a decidedly modern feel, is warm and sophisticated with dark wood and bright walls. The prices are very reasonable, ranging from $7.95 and up for lunch combinations. Our server was very accommodating, checking often on how our meal is going and making sure our red glasses are full with water.

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I chose the lamb xacutti lunch special ($9) which came with naan bread, basmati rice, samosa, lentil soup, spices, and gulab jamun, an Indian dessert ball. The items all came in a white tray a la bento lunch box.

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The lamb xacutti is a dish that comes from the Indian coastal state of Goa, known for its beautiful beaches and coconut trees. The xacutti is a savory, rich curry like dish with grated coconut, tender chunks of lamb and notes of blended spices in a creamy sauce. The sauce was light and delicious and went well with the charred tandoori clay oven baked naan bread and basmati rice.

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Lamb Xacutti lunch special 

My dining partner ordered the chicken tikka masala ($8.75), a similarly delicious creamy tomato based curry with chunks of chicken.

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Chicken Tikka Masala lunch special

The gulab jamun dessert is made of a doughy, homemade cheese-based balls dipped in honey syrup and flavored with rose water. It’s a popular Indian dessert dish and served hot here at Saffron.

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Gulab Jamun, Indian dessert ball

The atmosphere is very comfortable and not too stuffy like some other restaurants on restaurant row can be, which I found to be quite enjoyable. One of my new favorite Indian restaurants, I will be sure to return to try some of their other dishes.

Saffron Orlando
(407) 674-8899
7724 West Sand Lake Road
Orlando, FL 32819
http://www.saffronorlando.com/

Saffron Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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