Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Curry's

Tasty Tuesday is back, featuring my favourite restaurant in Madrid!  Ironically, it doesn't serve Spanish food, but Indian.

Like any red-blooded Canadian girl, I have regular cravings for all kinds of ethnic foods - Indian, Levantine-based (I prefer the Lebanese interpretation), Japanese, Italian (if that counts - it's pretty mainstream in Canada), Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian, Greek...

And while I was pretty much shit-out-of-luck in Madrid in terms of Korean and Vietnamese cravings (and authentic Chinese too, come to think of it, because of my own paltry cooking skills), there were Japanese restaurants for those who could afford it (not me), one decent quasi-Lebanese place that I knew of, many Turkish places, an abundance of Italian restaurants (of course) and quite a few Indian restaurants.

The most well-known area in Madrid for eating Indian food (as well as many other kinds of ethnic fare) is Lavapiés.  I went there for Indian food twice, and while the food was okay, the portions were teensy, and the dining experience in general wasn't great.

Don't get me wrong - I get that Indian restaurants, like Chinese restaurants, are often more about having great food than providing great service.  I get that and it's totally fine if the food actually is wonderful.  But the food I had in Lavapiés really wasn't much to talk about, so I didn't go back much.

So then I set about looking to satisfy my cravings elsewhere.  I'd done some reading and saw this place in downtown Madrid, kind of close to where I lived, called Curry's. I'd been meaning to go there for a while, but because the prices were on the expensive side and I could only really afford to have their menú del día (fixed price set menu), I didn't end up going there until December, close to when I had to leave. (I had to work all the time and the cheapest menús del día are only available until 4pm on weekdays.)

And it was AMAZING.  Oh my goodness.  Eating there hit every spot in my Indian food craving! 

When I'm craving Indian food, I inevitably want to eat the following:
*butter chicken OR chicken tikka masala OR chicken korma OR chicken madras OR palak paneer OR tandoori chicken
*basmati rice OR rice pilau 
*mango lassi

However, most Indian restaurants in Madrid don't offer mango lassi in their menú del día and they make you choose between rice or naan, so I always end up spending at least about 15€ to taste everything I want.

But at Curry's, they offer at least one choice in every category that I demand in their menú del día for a very reasonable 10.95€ (first dish, second dish, naan, rice, dessert and a drink!). Both times I went, I chose the tandoori chicken leg for my first course, the chicken tikka masala for my second course, and then the mango lassi for my dessert.
As soon as you sit down, they set you up with papadum (above), which is delicious, of course. Here, they serve it with this cool, refreshing yogurt-like sauce as well as what I think is a tamarind sauce, which kind of tastes like a cross between jam and plum sauce, and...a third sauce that I'm not familiar with.  I have no idea what it was, but it was kind of sweet and it was good.

The tandoori chicken (see first picture at the top of the post) was freshly roasted, juicy and fragrant. I'm a huge fan of dark meat, so it was just perfect to my taste. I wish the chicken leg were bigger though, since it was so good. :P  It also came with foil wrapped around the bottom so you can hold it and maul it without dirtying your fingers! :D
The chicken tikka masala - okay, here's where I'm confused. In Canada, chicken tikka masala is this sort of veggie-infused red curry sauce that doesn't really have cream in it, or not much, if it does. Butter chicken, by contrast, has a rich, creamy, tomato-based sauce. But on my first outing to an Indian restaurant with a friend, my butter chicken was a very sweet, pale yellow sauce and my friend's chicken tikka masala was what butter chicken would be like in Canada! I mean, both were delicious, but after that I only ordered chicken tikka masala in Spain because it's that creamy tomato sauce that I love and am familiar with.

So the chicken tikka masala at Curry's was creamy, rich and tasty, with quite a lot of chicken in it - all white meat. The container looks deceptively small, but it was really filling, and there was just enough sauce to dress both rice and naan.

The rice was delicious, cooked to just the right texture and moisture level. The naan was also very high-quality, nice and thin all around instead of airy in some spots and really dense in others.

The mango lassi was a bit thicker than I'm used to, but it was delicous and mangoey, and it was the perfect culmination to the meal. I was stuffed to the brim when I finished my menú del día there, and that's impressive because I can outeat most men I know. :P

My only complaint is that one waiter in particular kept pestering me for a date. My first visit there, he was super friendly, coming to chat me up, which I'm used to of in Spain and thought was pleasant. By the way, all the waiters really try to serve well, they are formally attired, with white napkins over their arms, they switch plates for you, are all friendly and accommodating.  But I digress.

When that specific waiter slipped me his number on a business card during my first visit, I didn't think much of it, thought perhaps he was just trying to be nice. But when I went back again the following week and I obviously didn't call him, he kept bothering me for my number, asking me out when I kept telling him that I was to go back to Canada on the Tuesday ("What about Monday? It's such a pity you're leaving so soon. I really like you. You're so pretty. Let's have dinner together. Let's go party. Do you like to dance at discotecas? Let's countdown to the new year and eat grapes together at the Puerta del Sol on New Years Eve. I really, really want to go out with you....")

So apart from that minor irritation, I think this is a fantastic restaurant.  I'd totally recommend Curry's because the food is wonderful, the menú del día is very nicely arranged and, above all, the price for the menú del día is excellent value!

Calle Silva, 16
28004 Madrid, Spain
915 234 570

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