MUST ORDERS: MURGH LABADAR AND LACCHA (SHOULD BE ORDERED MEDIUM TO VERY SPICY)
Calcutta Indian Restaurant– 126 Kun Ming St. (Wan Hua – Xi Men MRT Exit 6) Xi Men Ding Taipei City (02) 2389-3878 (Everyday from 11:30AM-2PM and 5PM-10PM)
After living in Taipei’s Xi Men Ding area for 10 years, this reviewer has discovered that the area has an absence of good places to eat. There are, however, a few exceptions. The most notable of such, and arguably cooking the best food in the ding, is Calcutta Indian Restaurant.
Calcutta was opened around five years ago by brother and sister Aki and Pauline. The two were overseas Taiwanese who grew up around the Calcutta metro area. Calcutta’s chef (Mr. Hou) was formally chef at The Spice Shop (a very well established Indian restaurant in Taipei’s Tien Mu area) and has set a very high standard of authentic Indian dishes that can be savored nightly convenient Xi Men Ding.
Among this review’s visits, a recent evening provided a good opportunity to share some opinions about the food. The evening was started with the Vegetable Samosas ($80nt) and Mutton Samosas ($100nt). An order of Samosas consists of two large pieces. The vegetable Samosa has a soft moist filling whereas the mutton variety has a very tasty and wonderfully oily rich filling of sweetly spiced mutton. Next the salads arrived.
The Laccha ($120nt) is a traditional fiery street food dish found in Delhi and is one of this review’s salads in the world. It made with tomatoes, red onions, and cucumbers. It’s covered with a curry type dressing that’s fiery spice could make any Indian food lover satisfied. Another recommended salad is the Raita ($80nt). This yogurt salad as wonderfully rich creamy base with is the perfect match for spicy curries as the yogurt naturally cuts the burn of the spice it is eaten.
Moving on to main courses, the smell of curry filled the air. At Calcutta, for most Indian food lovers ordering the curries medium spicy should provide enough fire for that true Indian experience without causing one to wake up the next morning painfully aware of the previous night’s dinner. This particular night, one of the review’s guests was having GI problems and was unable to handle spice. This gave for an opportunity to try one curry with a low-level of spice. For this dish, the beef curry ($270nt) was in line. Without the fiery spice, the sweet spices were more prevalent in these very tender thick chunks of beef. The absence of spice and more prevalent rich sweetness of this dish actually balanced quite well along with other fiery curry dishes that were ordered.