Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bangalore Indian Nights

Indian food has not managed to take root in Key West. There was a sit down restaurant for a while at the thousand block of Truman and the food was quite decent but perhaps owing to the lack of parking it didn't last long. They had some Indian dishes at the former Deli after the longtime owners sold to some newly arrived hopefuls, but that place has turned into the new home of Key West's dessert restaurant.

So when my wife in distant Puerto Rico said try the Indian I was not ready to believe her, but I drove by Badboy Burrito and of course she was right. Instead of being closed as per usual on a Sunday, the door was open. Intriguing. I moseyed in looked around. I liked the table with tablecloth, a nice touch in a small eatery where one doesn't expect to buy food and sit. I have taken a stool at the window which is okay when you are on your own with a burrito but having a table, especially with fiddly Indian good is important.

I snapped a picture of the menu as a reminder to myself because the owner hasn't yet printed up to go menus. The schedule is basically dinners weekdays and all day Sunday. Essentially he is operating the reverse schedule to that of the burrito operation, which is actually a smart use of the space, often done in poorer countries. This is as far as I could see a vegan menu so everyone gets a chance to taste something Indian once again in Key West, a good thing.

I was intercepted by the owner, whose accent matched mine so we got to talking and a very interesting conversation followed. Philip had some thoughtful ideas about emigrating and he left Europe just a year after I did. In Philip's view the US offers much greater flexibility and self confidence. He compared the societal changes coming to this country as an evolution of public opinion. Health care, decriminalized marijuana, gay marriage, wire tapping and wealth inequality are all issues that are being debated and discussed. In Britain by contrast Philip says society is a fossilized landscape, wrapped in fearfulness, surveiled in ways Americans would never accept. His cheerful faith in the future was almost as refreshing as the cooking smells coming from the kitchen in the back.

We shook hands with a promise to meet soon. I went on to get my dinner which fortunately still tasted good though it wasn't Indian which I was now craving. I had no particular conversation with the staff at El Siboney but I got my dinner and drove home in a thoughtful cheery mood. Dinner and a movie will be Indian flavored soon I have no doubt.

Cheyenne enjoyed her long slow afternoon walk enough that she only had strength to eat half her dinner, as did I, and we passed out together at a ridiculously early hour, a deep refreshing sleep to end a companionable Sunday together. Who needs a wife (still enjoying Vieques as it happens) when you have good food, a happy dog and a deep desire to sleep.


Anonymous said...

Fine menu.


Martha Tenney said...

This reminds me that I should locate an Indian restaurant here. Trying to figure out what it is you are eating in that last photo...

Trobairitz said...

The menu looks tasty. Indian menus typically have a lot of vegan or vegetarian options. We love the local Indian place. Our Indian place usually has goat in some kind of spicy red sauce too. My boss loves it but I'd rather not look at it or smell it, lol.

I like the idea that they share space. It seems like a good idea rather than renting a place that stays closed for breakfast.

Conchscooter said...

Onions piled on boiled yucca a tamale and shredded beef. Not Indian!

Singing to Jeffrey's Tune said...

That's interesting about the co-working space. I have seen it applied to freelancers, even to the point of collaboration and even some Maker spaces.

The restaurant shared space is an interesting step.

I need to get out of the country more, so things like this pop-up on my radar.

I can see a sustainable restaurant business model being devised out of this.

Thanks for sharing the experience.

Richard M said...

Love Indian food but unfortunately not enough of us in this town to support a restaurant. I did take a couple of Indian cooking classes but it's pretty challenging to make due to the number of ingredients not available locally.

Anonymous said...

I just had an indian chicken curry delivered honestly that was the best food I ever ate and I've eaten from every rest in key west that food was better than sex thxs phillip

Atanu Chatterjee said...

We were looking for an indian restaurant after a day of great snorkeling experience in keywest in the memorial day weekend this year. Found this place after a bit of back and forth as the restaurant didn't have a restaurant like look, hoarding or welcome gate.

By the time we reached there it was pretty late and food was almost over. We were little disappointed and thought of coming back and then the owner said he would cook some food for us. It was pretty much one man show. The owner, the cook, the server, the waiter, the cashier and dealing with customer. We waited some time and finally got in.

We were surprised that a white guy preparing indian food and running a business out of it. With that bit of curiosity, got introduced to Phillip and started having conversation with him, . How he spent time in Delhi, how he learnt indian cooking from the family he lived with in india. Pretty interesting stories all of that can't be described in review.

Now the food.The chicken currys, the goat currys, the vegetable items in a normal indian restaurant are pretty much stereo-typed and they have specific set of spices that they use and there's not much difference from one restaurant to the other in terms of taste. Phillip prepares food they way we indians do at home. Very distinctive, no issues with your stomach and yet very tasty, and you don't get that elsewhere. Now we realized why the restaurant didn't look like one. It was almost 11.30 pm, had great conversation, great food and left the place with a high enthusiasm of coming back.