What do Converse sneakers and Indian Garden have in common? They’re both taking over Stockholm. YLC’s expert in food ingestion, Kirsten Smart, discovers what the big dal is with the new addition to the Indian Garden family.
If spicy food were a political party, I’d be lobbying for the conservatives. So it was with some trepidation that I accepted an invitation to sample the menu at the new Indian Garden in Liljeholmen. It seems my nerves were for naught as it turns out that award-winning chef and owner of the ever-expanding Indian Garden cain, Karim Razaul, has the spice tolerability ratio just right… For the Swedes (and for me) anyway.
Razaul’s new baby, a modern and spacious restaurant on Liljeholmen’s waterfront, has its menu centered aptly around fish dishes, unlike its Kungsholmen sibling which focuses mainly on vegetarian ingredients. The decor is a mix of Swedish minimalism and Oriental opulence with massive floor-to-ceiling windows displaying magnificent views of the harbour. Within the restaurant there is another window the size of a large painting looking in onto the kitchen, capturing the action behind the scenes and reinforcing the “food as art” theme that chef Razaul has created.
The action behind the scenes
We started out tasting oysters, prepared Indian style. I’m not usually a fan of things that slither down your throat without having to chew them, but these were refreshing, spicy and surprisingly un-fishy. The presentation was as simple as the flavours were complex. Next was the Fish Tikka mix, a trio of fish cooked in three different ways with three accompanying sauces (chutney, mustard and Karim’s “specialmarinad”). Each piece of fish can be mixed with each sauce individually, essentially giving you nine completely different taste experiences.
But by far my favourite dish was the Chicken Chettinadu which, in my humble opinion, was far superior to the much acclaimed Lamb Roshna (lamb fillet, yoghurt and cilantro) that followed .
“Chicken Chettinadu used to be a very popular dish in the South of India, but it seems to be disappearing. By putting it in my menu I am attempting to revive it.” chef Razaul tells YLC.
The poultry dish was a masterpiece of succulent, free-range chicken, coconut, onions and tomatoes, seasoned to perfection and beautifully garnished with a sprinkle of purple flowers. You see, Razaul’s food engages more than just your sense of taste and smell, it’s also visually stimulating.
The Fish Tikka trio was rather more-ish
For those of you who are more herbivorously inclined, the vegetarian options included the Paneer Dulma, a freshly homemade, butter-fried cheese with green peas, cumin and mushrooms – all of which complemented the dish perfectly. Also on the veggie menu was the Dal Panchmela which was made up of five different types of lentils slow-cooked in a tomato and onion-based sauce. Who know there were more options that just “brown” or “green”? Not me! But this was a great way to find out – it almost made me want to give up munching on farmyard animals entirely. Almost.
For dessert we were served a curry panna cotta with mango salsa – an interesting mix of sweet and spicy which grew bolder with each bite. Finishing us off before we rolled back to the tbana was the dark chocolate mousse with mango and chilli. This absolutely delectable treat was rich, light, flavourful and, together with the Chicken Chettinadu, is the main reason why I’d can wait to return to the Indian Garden on Liljehomen.
Address: Sjövikstorget 10
Prices: Lunch dishes range from 90 to 150 SEK, starters between 39-95 SEK, main courses 200-300 SEK, desserts 30-80 SEK
Bubbles: 89 SEK per glass and 339-720 SEK per bottle
Contact: 086 68 49 492
Kirsten blindly followed her husband from South Africa to the land of snow and snus in 2011 and proceeded to procreate. When she isn’t discovering the 101st use of the humble wet wipe, she can be found writing adjective-laden articles for YLC.