South Indian Cuisine Nandhini
Monday- Friday 11AM–10:30PM
I finally made it out this afternoon to a store at the heart of Tokyo that has been on my list of top places to visit ever since it opened a few months ago: Nandhini, Toranomon. After trying their sister store in Kiyosumi Shirakawa a couple of times, I was fairly sure they would come up with the goods, so I headed down there with my family in tow, which included a fussy 5-year old whose preference for butter chicken had me wondering if I’d be better off trying the place by myself another time.
We arrived at lunchtime and it was fairly quiet, though the single floor staff member became increasingly run off his feet as the place started to fill up, including a group of 10. The menu was packed with so many wonderful-sounding choices that it was tough to decide – do I go for the Kerala set, Nandhini set, Three-curry set, Dosa set, or “Meals” set? Each had an array of mouthwatering options, but I eventually went for the Non-veg version of Meals simply for the fact that sambar and rasam were on repeat and a second portion of basmati was only ¥100 extra. On top of that, there were two other curries (chicken and veg), a marinated chicken dish, papad, puri, acha, yogurt, and desert. The meals came out reasonably quickly considering it appeared that the only other staff member was a single kitchen staff.
I went to work on the dry chicken and curries first, which provided a decent fill of soft cut meat and vegetables. Then I went for the sambar and rasam, mixing it up with mounds of basmati. The curries were bursting with flavor, and I very quickly got into shoveling mode, my mind being taken over by the combination of spices and complexities of the tadka. My only compliant would be that the papad was soft and the puri wasn’t puffed up and lively like they usually are – I suspected that the kitchen had prepared these in advance, anticipating the lunch rush – but it didn’t distract too much from the overall flavor explosion. After my katoris were emptied, I went for more rasam and sambar, and got more basmati in, kindly sharing some of it with my dining partners. Sharing is caring.
All in all a great lunch at Nandhini, and I will be heading there again soon, and probably in the evening as I want to take advantage of their nice outside seating deck and the wide-ranging menu. Also, the bill was under ¥2,000, and that included the lunch drink option, so I’ll be back there for lunch again, and will be opting for their dosa if I can resist one of the other options. Doubt I’ll be taking my son again, though. He didn’t finish his, so I obliged for him – even though I was ready to burst, can’t let a good curry go to waste. The restaurant is a decent size, so I would recommend it for large groups or families, but the restaurant might need to rethink its staff distribution at lunch if the popularity of the place really starts to take off.