Namaste Bar & Restaurant

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2 reviews
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451 Mt Eden Road,

(09) 630 7306

The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byAndré Taber5/12/2006

4 out of 5

Behind a non-descript shop-front at the quieter western end of the Mt Eden shopping village, Simla Indian Café is a suburban curry house several notches above the average.

The menu has all the tried-and-true elements: deep-fried entrées; chicken, beef, lamb and vegetarian curries; naan bread; biryanis. Here, they have proved over several years to be reliably good. Service from the one waitress looking after three occupied tables was predictably efficient and understated.

From the “tandoor” section on the menu, our fish tikka ($11) was boneless, firm flesh, marinated in yoghurt and spices and then grilled till crisp around the edges. It was topped with some coleslaw and sided with a portion of mustardy yoghurt dressing.

Lamb masala ($15) came in a rich red sauce which had an acidic tang. Palak paneer ($13) has always been one of my favourites here at Simla: cubes of Indian-style cottage cheese in a smooth spinach sauce. The creamy (yet fresh-tasting) medium-hot sauce and the earthy curd flavours of the cheese set each other of perfectly.

The lamb and cheese dishes came in generously-sized metal bowls, but under the sauce hid very small portions of protein.

The wine list was made up of a small selection of mass-marketed New Zealand labels, including ten curry-friendly aromatic whites, all available by the glass for $4.50—$7.50.

We bypassed the wine—two of us had beer ($5.50 for a Heineken and $5 for Speight’s) and our third made the most of the large jug of water which had arrived as soon as we were seated.

A big plate of fluffy rice was included in the price of the mains, and we added naan ($2.25 per portion of plain butter-flavoured). Two helpings suited the three of us just fine, and they were sliced into segments for easy handling.

Two dipping dishes of chutney were served separately: a sign that this restaurant pays attention to detail, as were the curvaceous little beer glasses and the décor. Simla’s dining room follows the somewhat clichéd curry house formula, but does it in subdued style with dark red walls, swathes of cloth draped from the ceiling and neatly framed prints of deities on the walls.

Somewhat incongruous to this stylish décor were the locals in their trackies coming in to collect takeaways, but this is the sort of place where you don’t need to dress up even if you’re eating in.

Namaste Bar & Restaurant has been reviewed by 2 users

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