Monday, 9 May 2011

Restaurant: Kashmir - Jalan Penang, Georgetown (Top Pick)

I visited this restaurant recently after the failed attempt to try out Spice and Rice (which is now closed down). I really wanted to try a good quality Indian restaurant with great food, nice decor and a good atmosphere and the Kashmir was suggested. It turned out to be a very good suggestion indeed!!

The Kashmir is located in Jalan Penang in the heart of Georgetown and is situated in the basement of the Oriental Hotel. If you are travelling in by bus from the North of the islan it is very easy to get to. Simply get on the Rapide 103 service which actually goes up Jalan Penang when it enters Georgetown. About half way up the bus will turn off Jalan Penang (because of the traffic routing system) it will then turn right a little further up and right again to rejoin Jalan Penang. Just before the bus reaches the end of the road before Jalan Penang press the stop request button and get off there. The Oriental and Kashmir are straight across the road in front of you.

The Kashmir, in business since 1984, specialises in North Indian cuisine and is renowned for some of the best tandoori dishes anywhere. The restaurant has a classical feel to it with a vibrant, rich and relaxing decor and the owner Mohan and his staff make you feel very welcome. The restaurant is nicely laid out with a variety of table layouts so large groups can be accommodated just as easily as those seeking a romantic dinner for two or a meal with a few friends. There is a well stocked bar with beers and spirits and a wide selection of soft drinks and lassi.

The owner Mohan is rightfully very proud of the restaurant and is very happy to advise you in terms of the dishes to try to best meet your needs. He will also point out some of the Kashmir's specialities just one of which is the tandoori chicken. Because this takes a while to cook we ordered this straight away and then sat with a beer to ponder the extensive and well explained menu. While we waited the restaurant served us with a chicken pakora and an onion bhajee together with a very nice mint raita and a chilli sauce. The bhajee and pakora were fresh and succulent and very tasty and in stark contrast to the over spiced balls of doughy garam flour that you will often get in many Western Indian restaurants. A plate of fresh, light and crispy papadoms were also served.

After making our selection the chicken tandoori arrived. Now I have to say that this was, by far, the best chicken tandoori I have eaten anywhere. In many places the dish can sound appealing but can so often be an anti-climax with a piece of chicken smothered in a yogurt and spiced based dressing but with the inside of the meat dry and tasteless. Not at the Kashmir!! The dish was moist and succulent and really was mouth-wateringly delicious. It had clearly been very well marinated and lovingly prepared, cooked in a charcoal fired tandoor oven that imparts a flavour that no other cooking method can replicate. Truly the Kashmir is a place that you should make a point of trying for the tandoori chicken alone!!!

Our main dishes then arrived. We opted for a fiery and aromatic mutton vindaloo which was very tasty indeed, a delightfully rich butter chicken, a plate of the yellow lential dhal makahni (a superb and healthy accompaniment to any Indian meal) and a palak paneer (spinach and indian cheese curry). All of the dishes were truly superb, particularly when accompanied by fresh and light butter nan (there is a very wide variety of Indian breads available here). We also tried a puree which is a very light and puffy Indian bread which melted in your mouth.

In all honesty we probably ordered a little too much at the Kashmir but we did want to try a wide range of dishes to get a good feel for the place. The staff were very pleasant and attentive without being overly fussy. The whole meal including several beers, and a mango lassi which was very tasty with a nice sharpness to it, came in at RM 184 but I should think a meal for two with one or two drinks could easily be had here for RM 100-120, and what a wonderful meal it would be.

My praise for the Kashmir perhaps sounds a little gushing and, to be honest, it is. I think it is a fabulous restaurant with outstanding food with a welcoming and passionate owner and attentive staff. I shall return again shortly with a decent camera and take some shots of the delightful food here but until then, the Kashmir qualifies with ease for a Top Pick!!!

The Kashmir can be contacted on: 04 263 7411.

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