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South Indian Food in Paris -- NOT

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South Indian Food in Paris -- NOT

janet | Mar 8, 2004 08:34 PM

Well, I leave to my sister Susan (susancinsf) the job of reporting on most of our joint meals while in Paris...after all, she took the notes. But I will tell you about hubbie's and my quest to find South Indian food while there. We had heard from what we felt were reliable sources (Lonely Planet guidebook, maybe a chowhound, and the South Indian security guard we met at Versailles) that the area around and including the Passage Brady near the Gare du Nord was the place to go. So Saturday night we set off on the metro, happily in search of South Indian places. Jerry just had a craving for some "home cooking" (well, semi-home cooking, after all, he's from Gujarat, not South India), and researching Indian restaurants in every city we visit is kind of a hobby of ours. Anyway, the area around the Passage Brady definitely has a lot of good looking Indian stores that are well stocked (if I was living in Paris I would shop there)....so we were disappointed when we got to the passage itself to find no discernable South Indian places. Everything was North Indian/Pakistani......The guard at Versailles (who was from Pondecherry but I think has been away from home too long) said to pick whatever looked good. Nothing really did, but we were getting hungry, so finally picked one called "Route to Kashmir" because it at least had a few South Indian dishes on the menu...despite the decidedly northern bent to its name.

It was a mistake. That was probably the only bad meal we had in Paris. We should have known when the pappadum were microwaved, not fried or pan-fried. The waiter (ethnically Indian) was rude and pushy to boot. He chastised us for "only" ordering two starters, one vegetable dish, one main dish, bread, and one order of rice (enough to feed three btw). (Despite his warning that it wasn't enough, we had a lot of food left over).

As for the starter dishes: I had the onion bhajia. They were cold and rubbery. The accompanying chutneys were good, but I think they only had one caddy of them....the waiter was more than a little miffed when he tried to take them away after the starters and we asked him to leave them for the rest of our meal......
Hubbie had the dhosa. (Listed as a starter, although like most dhosa it was big enough for a main course). The filling was ok, although mild, but the crepe tasted like Aunt Jemima pancakes and I think was made of wheat flour and not the requisite chickpea flour.

For main courses, I had Madrasi-style shrimp, one of the supposed South Indian dishes (along with the dhosa). It tasted like mild vindaloo (somewhat of a contradiction in terms) without the potatoes. The shrimp were fresh however. It was accompanied by dry and tasteless nan and a greasy and tasteless uttapam. The rice was not the advertised basmati. Jerry had ordered benghan barta as his main course; it was probably the best dish of the night.

The good news is that we made it back to our Isle St. Louis apartment in time to go to Berthillon for some mango ice cream. I don't care how much Susan teases me about it....mango and ice cream were meant to go together. Berthillon is certainly way up there as far as mango ice cream goes.

BTW, someone on this board had recommended going to Jim Hayne's place (see www.Jim-Haynes.com) for one of his Sunday dinners. We followed this advice, and had a wonderful time! (Thanks for the tip). The irony is that at that dinner the following night Jim served Indian food....and it was better than what we had at the "Route to Kashmir"!

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