Taste of India: A Spicy Foray in Ulaanbaatar

By Michelle Tolson

I’ve come to learn writing restaurant reviews isn’t easy. Well, actually I’ll take that back. Writing the reviews is enjoyable but people have very strong opinions about their food. Criticize the water and sanitation infrastructure. Call out a corrupt system that doesn’t adequately advocate for domestic violence victims. That is ok, but tread carefully in restaurant land. Indian restaurants provoke especially strong opinions.
Apparently the quality varies wildly as well as the service. I leave this knowledge to those who have lived in Ulaanbaatar a long time and who frequent them. One gentleman from the UK declared that Taste of India was “the best” Indian restaurant in UB. I asked his parameters for this. He said that the other places lacked spices and weren’t fresh. I had always chalked that up to the lack of fresh vegetables in the country and the limitations on imports. He strongly disagreed and told me to try it.
I found the restaurant across from the Chinese Embassy and upstairs on the 2nd floor of a hotel. It was large and expansive, with flat-screen TV’s on the wall playing Bollywood movies. The menu seemed diverse, but I immediately went for the thali plate which I had heard good reports about. There are two thali plates: Vegetarian (12200 MNT) and Meat (14500 MNT). I chose the vegetarian plate which was sizable with three vegetable dishes, naan, rice and a side of Raita and Cilantro-mint sauce. The owner, a Mongolian woman who had studied in India, asked me if I would like mine “spicy” and I eagerly agreed. It was not only pleasantly hot but very flavorful, something definitely missing from most restaurants in UB, Indian or otherwise. I have come to accept the blandness but Taste of India challenges this. A little side dish of fresh green peppers came with my meal for added zest.
My masala chai tea was authentic. Having lived a year and a half at Curry Hill (by Murray Hill) in NYC, simple things like tea are wonderful if done well. A little cardamom and pepper make a cup of tea memorable.
I went back this past weekend and brought a friend. Though my friend didn’t quite share my enthusiasm, in all fairness, he had only ordered a samosa plate. He agreed the food was good but in his estimation, “second to Namaste.” Having never been to Namaste, I can’t comment but I appreciate a good thali plate, even if it is priced the same as in the US.
One word about prices: the main dishes are a bit steep compared to Delhi Darbar. They average around 9,000 MNT while Delhi Darbar’s start at about 6,000 MNT. However, I see the value in Taste of India’s thali dish as it includes naan and rice. A 6,000 MNT dish at Delhi Darbar with naan and tea still comes to 12,000-13,000 MNT—the same price as Taste of India’s thali plate.
Soups and salads are priced from 4800-5600 MNT. Raita is a bit steep ranging from 4700-5500 MNT but perhaps these are large portions ( thali comes with a small side dish of raita). Samosa 4000 MNT, veg pakora 5200 MNT, veg roll 4900 MNT, and as well other non-vegetarian starters (about 11,000 MNT).
Non-veg starters range from 1100-1200 MNT. There are beef kebabs (12500), pesawari tikka (11500 MNT), fried chicken wings and French fries (11300), beef tikka (12300 MNT), and chicken sagwala (10900 MNT), to name a few.
Non-Veg main dishes range from Chicken Korma (10900), prawns Masala (10600), chicken masala (10800 MNT), north Indian fish curry (1100), lamb korma(10800 MNT), and the thali plate (14500 MNT).
Vegetarian main dishes: Aloo Gobhi Masala (9500 MNT), Dal Tadka (9500 MNT), Palak Paneer (9800 MNT) Pindi Channa—chick peas (9100 MNT), mixed vegetables (9100 MNT)) and of course the veg-thali (12200 MNT). Rice dishes start at 4000 MNT. Naans start at about 3000 MNT.
Desserts range from 3500-4000 MNT.
While they describe themselves as fine dining, I would place them more at mid-range. The setting, though pleasant is not quite fine dining. The service is attentive though, with an emphasis placed on small details. The place was popular mid week with staff from the Chinese Embassy. The next time I went during the weekend, it was filled with Mongolians celebrating a large birthday party. Prices be damned, the place draws people in. The Thali plate is worth it.

Taste of India is located across from the Chinese Embassy and Indian Embassy and next to the Michelle Hotel. They are on the second floor of the Agate Hotel. There is a large sign outside the building signaling their location. Open Monday through Sunday from 11:30am-10:30pm. Phone: 11-314417, 88126527. Accept Visa and MasterCard. Offer delivery services to nearby offices.

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=737

Posted by on Aug 28 2012. Filed under Топ мэдээ. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “Taste of India: A Spicy Foray in Ulaanbaatar”

  1. [...] Taste of India: A Spicy Foray in Ulaanbaatar – The owner, a Mongolian woman who had studied in India, asked me if I would like mine “spicy” and I eagerly agreed. It was not only pleasantly hot but very flavorful, something definitely missing from most restaurants in UB, Indian or otherwise. [...]

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