Monday, 14 November 2011
After receiving our warm beer, we ordered Ginger Lamb because we thought it sounded interesting and Chicken Botti because it had a silly name. Also the usual garlic naan and rice - they don't do popadoms. After a long wait watching the tumble weed blow through the almost completely empty restaurant, the waiter rocked up with two unordered (very cold) salads. Nice touch, but who ever heard of a salad in an Indian restaurant - must be a Pakistani thing. The curries finally came out with the lamb sizzling on a metal plate and the chicken botti in a potty.
So I can only describe the lamb as very lamby... great with chops and mint sauce but didn't work with the ginger, which was visible although completely undetectable being buried in the strong taste of lamb. All this was sitting on a bed of rice underlaid by a layer of soggy lettuce that was busy being fried by the hot plate! The botti wasn't too awful, but was quite cold and left a funny furry (or should that be feathery) feeling in your mouth. The naan was a chapati!
The most striking aspect of the meal was the number of cardamom pods we discovered - thirty in all! Every time I've cooked an Indian recipe using cardamom pods, they've been crushed in a pestle and mortar and the shells removed. To throw thirty into two dishes is really quite ridiculous and it was a pain to have to keep picking them out from between your teeth. The chef had seemingly run out of chilli (the curries were stews with fancy names) and obviously decided to try to make up for it with cardamom.
All in all, this restaurant was possibly the worst we've been to so far. The food was cheap (€7.50 for the lamb, €6.50 for the botti) but really terrible. The chef has got to get a grip on his excessive use of cardamom pods, learn how to make naan bread, and go and buy some chillies.
So we awarded 4 Popadoms for taste (generous), 1 ring sting and 4 rupees.
1090 Wien, Garnisongasse 10
Tel. 407 42 34
Tuesday, 7 June 2011
Tel: +43 (0) 1 5964317
Monday, 20 December 2010
This place has been around for ever, but there is something about restaurants in or near the Mariahilferstrasse that seems to keep me away. Anyway, last Sunday evening we braved the cold and taking advantage of the merciful absence of rampaging Christmas shoppers made our way to Rani.
The first thing that hits you when you walk in are about 5 smiling waiters all falling over each other to show you to a table. The second is that it is quite busy, which these days in Vienna actually worries me as most of the best Indian restaurants seem to be unfortunately nearly empty. The good thing though is that you can't hear the eternally twanging sitars over the rumble of conversation.
After being shown to our table and ordering beers (and yes they do serve large beers), we began perusing the rather extensive menu (mostly the usual westernized north Indian fare). At this stage the army of waiters began circling like vultures, swooping in every 30 seconds or so to ask if we were ready to order. Although somewhat disconcerting, we managed to decide on a Buna Lamb (a lamb curry with a thick, reduced sauce full of lovely things like shallots, tomato, ginger, garlic, coriander...) und a Banghan Bhaji (a spicy eggplant curry). I also specifically asked the waiter that the lamb dish be served very spicy, and emphasising that we really meant it!
We settled in to enjoy the evening and I had just taken my third slug of beer when I was shocked to see two waiters bearing down on us with our food! Now I know that many Austrians place great value on fast restaurant service but this was ridiculous. This place makes Burger King look like slow-food! I appreciate that many curries will be ready-made and simmer away for hours in the kitchen (as indeed they should) but there is no need to rush things like this. My worst fears were then confirmed when I tasted the lamb curry which was so mild my 2 year old son would have eaten it (OK, just about). This was all quite distressing but I must admit that once we'd calmed down the food was pretty good: nothing wonderful but solid in the old-style sort of way that you would also get in the Bombay or Demi Tass or some of the other long-stayers in Vienna. The eggplant (melanzani in Austria?) dish was especially good, and I also really enjoyed the garlic Naan which was moist but still perfectly flaky.
Anyway it was all over in a flash and before we knew it we were being ushered out into the street wondering what had just happened. It was still so early we still had time for a nightcap or two at the nearby Cafe Europa without risking raised eyebrows from our better halves later.
Rani gets seven poppadoms for taste, and three ring stings. After our last quite traumatic experience at Nirvana we were pleasantly surprised by the price level, with main courses in the 8 – 11 Euro range (without rice or bread of course), and we award seven Rupees for price.
Otto-Bauer-Gasse 21, 1060 Wien
Tel: 01 5965111
Saturday, 4 December 2010
The waiter, who was most definitely Austrian, came to take our order and we went for one of our usuals, a lamb vindaloo, and something a bit different, a Sabzi Karahi, which is basically a tangy, spicy vegetable mix. We skipped the rice for once and went for a mixed basket of breads, which was actually very good.
Now I know my German’s a bit iffy at the best of times, but I reckon it’s just about good enough to get across to your average Austrian waiter that we wanted our food hot, as in spicy hot. He asks us what we want so we say “lamb vindaloo – scharf.” Now for those of you who don’t speak German, the word ‘scharf’ means spicy hot. Das Schaf on the other hand is the word for sheep. So I guess what happened here was that he thought I was just confirming that I meant lamb as in sheep. In any case, I mentioned cat food earlier and I have the feeling the vindaloo came straight out of the tin and the chef even forgot to add the chilli.
The Sabzi Karahi was much better which, I suppose, isn’t really saying much. But it really was quite different and gave us the feeling that it was something genuinely Indian and not westernized for the European market.
My overall opinion of the place is that the food is distinctly average and vastly overprice. The atmosphere is painfully trying to be upper class Indian and after the funky music in the Om, my ears were once again bleeding by the time we left having been given a good thrashing by the old sitar.
My advice to you is to save yourself the €45 and head off to Billa for a couple of tins of Whiskas, a can of Stiegel and a bag of semmels and you’ve pretty much got the meal for under a fiver. If you really want to splash out (the chef obviously didn’t) you could go to Spar and get a bottle of Mama Africa’s sauce and turn the whole thing into a gourmet dinner for two.
Actually. I think that's probably a bit harsh. The Vindaloo was very average and I would expect more for the money. The Sabzi Karahi was quite good and the breads were better.
So we give this place six poppadoms for taste (the bread rescued them here), nine rupees for price and three ring stings.
1010 Wien, Rabensteig 1
01 925 64 89
Friday, 3 December 2010
We both want to give credit to Horst Prillinger for creating 'Der Inder Finder'. When we first started going for curries in Vienna, Andrew discovered the site and we have relied on it extensively for finding restaurants to try.
So if you're wondering where to go and we haven't got so far as to review a certain restaurant yet, I would recommend that you visit the site.
Horst, I have never met you but if you ever read this we just want to say thanks for a great job and I hope that we can all go out for a Indian some time.