This restaurant is up a steep flight of steps from street level in the Ginza. It is quite casual, with no tablecloths and quite tightly packed tables. It notionally specialises in southern Indian food, though the menus have only a few southern Indian specialities such as dosa. Many of the dishes are from northern India.
The place offers a series of set menus rather than a la carte, with a slightly wider choice at lunch. The cheapest lunch menu was just ¥790 (£6), with an evening menu at ¥2,790 (£21). Everything appears on a single steel plate, thali style, and the variation between menus is mostly down to the choice of bread. You can have a naan, a cheese kulcha, or a dosa, along with rice and between one and three curries depending on the menu chosen. For drinks there is a beer, with Kingfisher as well as the local Asahi.
There were three of us so we each ordered different menus in order to try a selection of dishes. The dosa in itself was not that good, being a little soggy in texture. In India dosa is mostly a breakfast dish, cooked on a hot griddle and appearing fresh and thin, sometimes with a filling, here it wasn’t that hot, a little thick, and its texture was rather disappointing (9/20). This was odd because a naan bread was actually quite good (12/20), appearing fresh and hot and with pleasant, pliable texture. The curries that we tried, a chicken curry as well as an aubergine and okra curry, were harmless enough (11/20) the spicing quite low intensity, presumably to cater for the perceived local tastes, where chilli is not very widely used. I also tried a couple of pieces of two different chicken tikkas, one conventional and one malai. These were cooked well enough and had decent flavour, though I found the spice marinade for the chicken rather one dimensional, tasting of generic “curry powder” style rather than with clear, distinct spices (11/20).
Service was friendly though it felt a little stretched. To be fair it was our waiter’s first week here. The bill came to ¥1,526 (£11) per person with just a beer apiece. If you came in the evening and drank a few beers then the cost per person might rise to around £30. The restaurant was harmless enough and was inexpensive, but it would not do well in a more competitive market like London. Its Michelin bib gourmand seems to me very generous, but even its current Tabelog rating (the main local food website, the score based on ratings from diners) of 3.79, which is very respectable, seems surreally generous if you are used to Indian food in either London or India. To give a sense of how out of proportion this Tabelog score is, the superb Italian restaurant Luca Fantin, which currently has one Michelin star and should have two, currently scores just 3.71. Perhaps the Tokyo audience that vote on Tabelog have rather low expectations of what Indian food is supposed to taste like. One day someone will open a really classy Indian restaurant in Tokyo, but so far I have not found one. It is a rare chink in the armour of the Tokyo dining scene, which in general excels in most cuisines.