Chris and I shared a great curry with friends the other day at a restaurant we were visiting for the first time: Salma Tikka & Biryani, Shinagawa. The restaurant is just a short walk up the hill from Shinagawa station in the direction of the Shinagawa Prince Hotel and it’s a great little place for anyone who loves a curry and who either is staying in the area or just passing by.
We got there around 7pm and got a table for four. We were being joined by a couple of new friends who get equally excited about Indian curry, and they insisted that we take care of the ordering, which we were more than happy to do. Chris asked the waiter what he would personally recommend, and the waiter just replied “It’s all good”. So, we thought we’d put him to the test and go for a couple of favourite starters of ours and a couple of signature dishes of theirs. We ordered a portion of papad, several beers, and a plate of samosas. For mains we went for Baigan Tamatar, Fish Chili, and Chicken Loabdaar (another first), a plate of chapatti and some Tandoori Shimla Mirch (potato and cheese mash stuffed in capsicums). For the biryani challenge, we went for Mutton Shahjahani and Vegetarian Zafrani.
After warming up with the papad, the samosas and mirch arrived. The mirch were deep and flavourful and Chris pointed out that this is a spicy vegetarian treat that always leaps out as a starter for him and that it was great to see it on the menu. The samosas were prepared well with chunky ingredients in a nice pastry and went down well with our Kingfishers. We were joined by a couple more people and got some more of the samosas on the go – too good to resist. As they arrived so did the mains and the biryanis. The three curries went down an absolute treat and they satisfied the appetites of six of us. An equal satisfaction came from the biryanis, which were as delicious as they were colourful; the basmati rice had obviously been prepared over quite some time with care and attention and had thoroughly soaked in the flavours of the other ingredients (especially the mutton). All the dishes were right up there quality wise, but the stand out for me was the Loabdaar — boneless chicken prepared in tomato and onion gravy with a hint of coriander — and I went about large spoonfuls of it mixed with the mutton biryani and scooped up with the thick chapatti. I was pretty much in heaven by that stage.
We finished up with some chai and that was the perfect way to end the meal. Though it was a little pricey (one curry will set you back around 1,500 yen) we have already promised to go back again, and they have plenty of room in there so we are planning to get a larger group down. There were a group of twenty or so next to us who seem to be enjoying the night as much as we were, and it’s definitely a place suitable for large parties who wish to enjoy food communally. Also, it’s great to go somewhere the staff have supreme confidence in their menu. Certainly looking forward to exploring the rest of it.