Last night Ariga and I found a new restaurant that combines an "authentic taste of India with Chinese, Lebanese, and Armenian cuisine." The place is called The New Delhi and it is located on 29 Tumanian Street, across from the Opera Circus (formerly the Opera Park). The restaurant is in the location of a former mini disco-club that finally closed probably due to lack of interest and thus has inherited the mirrored walls and glitter ball hanging from the ceiling. But the food was fantastic.
I was never a big Indian food eater, as I was always overwhelmed by the curries, some of which are very potent, the strange-looking dishes and so forth. But I opened the menu and saw some of the dishes that were familiar, such as Chicken Vindaloo and the nans and other Indian breads. So, I figured it would be the same kind of stuff I tasted in Boston several times.
Ariga wanted to try the Chinese hot and sour soup, which also tasted and looked similar to what I was accustomed to: basically a dark, soy-based broth with shredded pieces of carrots, water chestnuts, and other herbs and spices. It wasn't bad at all.
Then I ordered hummus as for some reason I had been craving it having eaten some the day before at home. We leared that they were all out so we ordered upon suggestion some spicy vegetable fritters called Pakoras. This dish was unbelievable good. Basically the appetizer consisted of sliced eggplant, green pepper, onions, potato, and cubes of cottage cheese coated in an egg-like batter, infused with ground red and black pepper as well as diced scallions. They were served with a light mint-yoghurt sauce on the side.
The main dish was the Kadhai Chicken accompanied by Pulao chawal (rice) with vegetables. The chicken was cut into pieces and coated in a thick red curry sauce with onions, peppers, and ground black pepper as well. This dish was truly excellent. I have never tasted anything like it before--the spices were perfectly balanced, the chicken moist, the sauce not too oily. It was a far cry from the suspicious, bland by comparison Indian food I have had. The rice was also fantastic, perfectly cooked but lightly spiced, and contained peas as well as cubed carrots.
We finished our meal with a lynchee fruit sundae served with vanilla ice cream and fresh brewed lemon ice tea. Of course I washed down everything with two bottles of Jermuk as well, being a Jermuk addict. They serve the "1951" Original Jermuk here, which is in my opinion the definitive natural mineral water.
In any case, this place has hospitable, excellent service--the owner, whose name is Sanjiv Savaille, and the head waiter, both from New Delhi and are charming, young guys, literally wait on you hand and foot. It is great to see more ethnic restaurants opening in Yerevan, as it is a sign of cultural transformation and an embrace of foreign traditions. Cultural diversity is a much needed commodity in Armenia for sure.
Labels: Food and Drink, Personal Experiences