After having spied some tantalizing photos on Facebook, I recently decided to make my way out to Pondy Bhavan, a South Indian restaurant I hadn’t previously been aware of. If you haven’t heard of Musashi Nitta, it’s probably because you don’t live on the tiny Tokyu Tamagawa line, which in a mere 7 stations connects Kamata (near Shinagawa) to Tamagawa. Nonetheless, the obscure station isn’t so very far from central Tokyo, so myself and two curry-buddies stopped in for their prominently advertised lunch meals.
The slightly out-of-the-way trip proved entirely worth it – Pondy Bhavan’s South Indian meals instantly jumped into the top 5 I’ve had in Tokyo. Unable to rival the perfection of the Andrha group, nor the authenticity and cost performance of Kerala no Kaze, the meal still delivers terrific flavors and some things you won’t find elsewhere. Naturally you have the staple Sambar and Rassam soups – both delicious with the latter providing the desired heat. The Khuthu on offer was a thick and chunky coconut delight, which matched wonderfully with with the hearty Poriyal sitting next to it. On the other side of the banana leaf was a flavor-packed Coconut Chutney, a seemingly homemade Achar, and a lovely Masala Vada – the first on offer I’ve seen on a Tokyo “meals” plate. Finally, the requisite crispy papad, and a fresh and hot puri steaming away.
The meals came with a finger bowl (also the first I’ve seen) which emboldened me to eat with my hands, despite the fact that I’m still a rather sloppy hand-eater. The variety of thick side dishes, however, drank up the soups wonderfully and my beloved mound of basmati and mouth watering side dishes mixed up into a very easy to grab heap of flavor heaven...(more)