By Phall NaanD
There's plenty of choice for Indian curry in the Ueno/Okachimachi area but the go-to place for me is Andhra Kitchen, which, maybe unsurprisingly, is the go-to place for many people in the area, and especially as it caters for the lunchtime rush from the numerous businesses around there. Despite this, I decided to chance my arm. As soon as I turned the corner of the small backstreet which leads to the shop, however, I knew that it was going to be a long wait to get into this limited-seat shop – several people were already lined up on the stairs and out into the street. After getting over the pang of disappointment, I decided to go for Plan B: Vege Herb Saga. VHS is a mere three minutes walk from Andhra, and just on the opposite side of the railway tracks. Being a totally vegetarian place, it's not the sort of restaurant that often entices me, but I had the urge for curry and it seemed like a pretty decent alternative.
VHS offered a few choices on their lunch menu, but I went for the four-curry set with naan (they didn't offer any alternative breads). With Andhra, you get a similar though slightly more expensive deal, but the options are a lot more appealing. For just under ¥2,000 you can get three curries, sambar, rasam, acha, poriyal, papad, chapati, drink and sweet, and basmati rice, with the rice, sambar and rasam on repeat. At VHS, the thali, coming in at ¥1,350, came with choices from the above (I went for 2, 3, 5 & 6), but only with a choice of naan or rice. As this was the case, I ordered rice as well on the side, which confused the waiter, who probably doesn't get requests like that very often (it's very much one or the other there), bringing the total to ¥1,500.
The curries were delicious, thankfully, so I didn't feel like I was getting a bad deal, though the rasam was very thin, making me relieved that I had ordered rice, too – there's not much point dipping your naan in it. All in all a satisfying lunch, and definitely a good option if you can't get into Andhra around that time. Chris P went to VHS for dinner a while back and had an absolute feast so I suppose that is their strong point. Undeterred, I will certainly be heading back there for more.