If you head out for a curry in Tokyo expect to be faced with a few choices: There are Indian restaurants like Andra Kitchen in Ueno and Dhaba India in Kyobashi, Pakistani restaurants like Hunza in Azabudai, Nepalese restaurants such as Kantipur in Shibuya, and "Asian Dining" restaurants like Sapana in Kinshicho. My preference is Indian cuisine - I was brought up on the delights of madras, korma, and vindaloo, and all the extras that come with them. I have a few firm favorites now in Tokyo and beyond, but I love it when I discover a new place that is stand out. I found such a place this week: Tandoori Asian Dining in Nishi-Chiba.
As its name suggests, Tandoori is an "Asian Dining" restaurant, so there are a myriad of choices available on the evening menu. On top of the standard Indian and Nepalese curries, side dishes and snacks, it has a full page of Thai cuisine, which led me to think I might get a slightly watered down version of Indian curry. After having a look through the tempting Thai selection, offering Gapao, Green Curry, Pad Thai and the like, I reverted to type and chose a North Indian dish: Chicken Jhanjari. I went for a simple starter of papad, scanned the bread page and saw naan, then roti, then...bingo! Paratha! There was only saffron rice listed, but I asked for basmati and was pleasantly surprised when they said no problem (wish all restaurants would do the same). My partner in crime went for Chicken Tikka Masala and naan, though we guessed that would be pretty standard too.
The papad were warmed through and crispy and went down well with a large bottle of Kirin (there were non-Japanese options, but I don't mind a bottle of the home brew from time to time). The Jhanjari came along with the paratha and the basmati. Wow. The curry was full of soft chicken and chunks of boiled egg, combined perfectly in a blended ghee-based sauce deep with flavour, and topped with a finely chopped spring onion, crushed cashew nuts, and a dash of cream. It might just be because I hadn't expected much, but this curry blew me away. The depth and combination of the flavours were fantastic, and it was delicious right down to the last spoonful. The Chicken Tikka Masala was a bit special too, but it was hard to take my attention away from the sublime Jhanjari.
I asked for it to be made extra hot, and the chef didn't disappoint - it was perfectly spiced, providing a wonderfully warm feeling that resonated all over, which, married with the exponential rush through an extra kick of spice with every bite, took me out of myself for most of the time I was eating it. Mixed with the large portion basmati, this was absolute heaven. The highlight, however, was the paratha. Most parathas I have had in Japan have been a bit too heavy on the oil, which sends signals to the brain very quickly that you have had your fill of fat. This paratha was just right (as good as any I had when I lived in the UK, and that's saying something). The combination of the curry, the basmati, and the paratha made this a wonderfully satisfying meal. The only downside was that half the plate of basmati was left after the paratha and Jhanjari had vanished. My dining partner wasn't indulging, and we were both totally full. That didn't stop me, however, from gradually finishing the rest of it off on its own in large, gloriously plain mouthfuls (I love basmati rice).
I have been to Tandoori a few times for lunch, and I knew that they did a good curry there, but I had no idea the evening menu was this good. The Jhanjari is a great curry, and I can't wait to try what else they have on offer. As a side note, it's actually reasonably priced as well. If you like the combination mentioned above, I would recommend you try Tandoori Asian Dining. Share a basmati, though. Unless you're like me and could live off the stuff.