Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Quest for Home

We all crave for the taste of home once in a while. Two weekends ago, a bunch of my Indian friends and I agreed, in a moment of nostalgia, that our taste buds needed some reawakening. We also knew, without a doubt, where we were going to go- Udupi Dosa Palace. Rumors had it that Indians from all over Bucks County flocked in droves to sample the delectable South Indian buffet at Udupi.

The six of us squished into my friend’s Acura, our excitement fueled by the colorful rhythm of Bollywood music blaring from the speakers. Thankfully in our cacophonic exuberance, no one noticed the slow growling emanating from our stomachs- clearly we were all ravenous. Finally, after what seemed like eternity, we arrived at the restaurant, and we all scrambled to get out of the car. The smiles of rejoice melted away quickly, as we found ourselves staring into dark windows- the restaurant was closed. Wails of disappointment and some very innovative curses erupted into the night air. And then we noticed the bright orange paper taped onto the door. In bold black letters read- “This restaurant has been shut down for not maintaining proper health standards…” Some Dosa Palace!

Even though our stomachs turned a little, we were still determined to find some semblance of home. Thankfully my friend had a GPS in his car, and we hastily scrolled through the list of Indian restaurants within a 3 mile radius. We found one that seemed appealing- Tandoori & Dosa. After twenty minutes of whining and my friend yelling angrily at the dulcet voice of the GPS (who was insisting that he had taken a wrong turn), we finally discovered that Tandoori & Dosa had turned into Kashmir Garden. Not surprisingly, considering it was 9pm, we were the only customers, and the kitchen was closing in half an hour. We ordered seven main course dishes, rice, and a big bread basket- the waiter cautioned us that it might be too much food. We assured him that we were hungry enough to order the whole menu, and looking convinced he hurried off to start getting our food ready.

The smells from the kitchen made us salivate, and we munched on the papad, wafer thin discs of spicy lentil crisps to keep our mouths engaged. Our waiter finally came out, expertly balancing the plates of food. He presented them with a flourish and the moment he was gone we attacked the food in a clatter of porcelain and silverware. The food, to describe in a single word, was exquisite. The chicken and lamb kebabs melted in your mouth, the tadka dal or lentils was the perfect combination of home-made goodness and simplicity. The bread basket was an impressive collection of whole wheat tandoori rotis, stuffed potato parathas, garlic and butter naan. The kofta (or fried balls of paneer or cottage cheese), paneer masala, and dal makhani had just the right amount of spice tempered with the creaminess of the curry. They even had dosa! The pancake had been fried to the perfect crisp, and the ghee or butter seeped into the warm potato filling inside. The accompanying chutney was, as my friend described it- “out of this world”. The most impressive part was probably the size of the portions; New Delhi and Sitar usually serve portions that two hungry people, let alone six, can barely share. Despite our colossal appetites, we had several doggy bags, and lunch for the next day.

Kashmir Garden is a delightful surprise tucked away on Krewstown Road, in Bensalem township in Bucks County. The restaurant doesn’t have the fancy ambience of New Delhi, but it offers a flavorful variety of Indian food, and the sincerity and skill of the chefs is evident in the quality of the food. I would definitely embark on another adventure to eat at Kashmir Garden again. At least they don’t have a health warning issue.

1 comment:

  1. Sarisha Meda

    Awesome! was definitely exquisite...say, dyu think we can go there before break?



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