I could walk through the winding, restaurant laden backstreets surrounding the beautifully bizarre and anachronistic Nakano Broadway for hours, so I took my time in strolling toward the largely well-regarded Minami Indo Dining. I put on one of my favourite records, Kathleen Hanna’s Julie Ruin, to parallel the dirty, handmade yet endlessly compelling neighbourhood, and though I was about to enjoy a very capably made curry, I must say the neighbourhood itself was the true highlight of this particular JIMC outing.
Not that Minami Indo Dining is entirely out of place in this setting. As I approached I was glad to see a very humble exterior - a slightly faded and ramshackle little joint is much more likely to provide the goods (with the exceptions of Dhaba India and Masala Dining perhaps) - so that was a good sign. The sign reading “Today’s Lunch: Butter Chicken Curry”, however, was a different story.
After the requisite Kingfisher and papad, which was wonderfully crispy and very well flavoured, I had another Kingfisher. Then came the main. I was instantly underwhelmed by the presentation - the Fish Chilli Dry was sitting lazily on a plain white plate, and I started to get pangs of regret for not sampling a more conventional curry. Even the Butter Chickens whizzing by me looked enticing, glistening with bright orange curry sauce. Ripping into my paratha - hot and fresh; a good sign - I scooped up a big chunk of fish and a few veggies, and made a sort of bite-sized wrap of paratha and fish. The first bite was tremendous - like an Indian flavoured fish taco. My regret vanished as I took bite after bite, and was happy as a clam for the first half of my meal. This initial excitement didn’t quite make it all the way through: though the fish was cooked just right - hot and tender in very generous proportions - the dish itself just didn’t have enough staying power to be great to the last bite. I made a note to come back again to sample a Saag or Masala to better compare with other places. Nonetheless I was impressed with the preparation, and the service was perfectly nice. The spice level was quite well measured also. The one bit that excelled above and beyond was the paratha. Cooked perfectly all the way through, with a few black crispy parts in just the right number (imagine a perfect brick-oven pizza crust), they complimented my dish flawlessly. Hands down the best paratha I’ve had since we began JIMC - I’d go back again for that reason alone.