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Restaurants & Bars 6

Two new Berkeley Indian joints

David Boyk | Feb 27, 200412:28 AM

Athithi, whose brilliance I only experienced for myself the night it died, was replaced by some weird multicuisine place called Dream Cuisine. I usually instinctively deride anywhere that can't decide what country it's from, but I figured I'd try this place out anyway. It's cheap, on the surface at least - a mini veg meal (thali) is 4 bucks, but somehow, with a Limca (possibly the greatest soda in existence, although it faces competition from the Pompelmo soda they sell at TJ's) it ended up being $6.50.

The guy's from Bombay, and there's some interesting-looking stuff on the menu that you don't see at the other Telegraph joints, like bhel puri and sev puri. I think he even had pao bhaji, which is a Bombay specialty that's sort of like a veggie sloppy joe, but a lot better. I was trying to be cheap, though, and clearly not doing that great a job, so I just got a veg plate with garbanzo beans. It came with a little dish of daal (lentils), raita (runny yogurt with onions and whatnot), a papadum, a roti, the chole (garbanzos) and a little bit of rice. Weirdly, the rice was the skimpiest part, even though it can't cost him more than, what, a quarter. The food was all okay, but none of it was really very interesting. The chole were the best thing - they had a nice tamarindy sweetness, but that was about the only distinctive thing in the meal. He had a couple other Indian things on his somewhat dismal steam table, plus some fairly suspicious Chinese dish, and on the menu there's some Brazilian and Italian and whatever.

Another new place is a lot more interesting. Tandor Kitchen, on Parker and Telegraph, where Bison Brewery used to be, appears to be run by Pakistanis, and is halal. I went there tonight with some friends I lived with in India, and we all thought it was good. I had the lamb curry and a naan, and, sadly, I didn't try anyone else's dishes. They seemed to be happy with them, and my lamb curry was quite good. It wasn't very hot at all, and the spicing was pretty nice, if maybe a little less bright than I'd like. There wasn't quite enough meat, and one piece was slightly fatty, but it was a good curry. My naan was nice and floury and crispy. The mango lassi was apparently too runny and weak, but overall, the food was good.

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