Chris suggested we take on Mandala – which to be honest I’d never really heard about – apart from a few lines on a now defunct blog page. Situated in a basement round the corner from a police box and the headquarters of a dodgy cult, Mandala is surprisingly nice. A chic interior and nice layout – you can see the chef make your nan bread or make up shish kebabs and the like due to a wee curved window on the right of the dining space.
I’m not going to even mention the saffron Japanese rice – which is just such a waste of space. Please serve Basmati rice. We love Japanese rice. In donburi, sushi and what not – but please don’t put it anywhere near Indian cuisine. It doesn’t work! At all! We had a peek at the dinner menu and it looks amazing so yes, we’ll be back very, very soon.
The lunch menu is quite limited - a choice of 1 of 6 curries is available with naan, mini saffron rice, tandoori chicken and sheekh kebab, depending on which set you order. They didn't allow us to order from the dinner menu. No complimentary papad came with our starting Kingfishers. No basmati rice!! I was worried.
But of course you know from Paul's assessment above that I needn't have been. My Noorjahani (chicken and liver) curry was exquisite. Served to the top of a classy clay bowl, the rich and fiery sauce (I ordered spice level 6 out of 5, and got what I asked for) concealed large and tender chunks of chicken on the bone, and almost too much liver (a little goes a long way). The chapati, which wasn't listed on the menu but was thankfully available instead of naan, was the perfect size and flavor.
The lack of options at lunch turns out to be a strength rather than a weakness at Mandala, at least that is, if every one of those 6 lunch curries are prepared as beautifully as ours were. My advice: get the smallest lunch set there. At about 1,000 yen you'll get a heaping bowl of wonderful curry, a perfect chapati (make sure to swap out that filling naan bread) and a cool and tasty Fruit Raita. A perfect Indian lunch.
Mandala now sits in contention with Dhaba India and Masala Dining for the best lunch menu in Tokyo, and once we try their dinner menu I suspect we have a contender for the all-round best curry in town.