MAYUR INDIAN KITCHEN 馬友友印度廚房
350-5 Keelung Rd, Sec. 1 台北市基隆路一段350號之5
MRT: Taipei City Hall
website: Mayur's FB page
hours: 11:30 am – 9:30 pm
$-$$ cash only (average NT$135-400)
Kid friendliness: no high chairs available. seating outdoors on sidewalk
Visit reviewed: 3/2/2012 & 5/11/2012
My cousin S was my "intro to Taipei" of sorts. When I first moved back almost 8 years ago, she had been working and living here and was one of the few people I knew. She joined me on a search for waffles in Taipei. She picked restaurants like J Pop cafe based on decor instead of food. Then work whisked her away for a few years- to China, to LA, but recently now back to Taipei, where now our roles are reversed- now I'm choosing the spots for lunch and she's the one who needs guiding.
Located in the Xinyi district, Mayur Indian Kitchen is an apt name for the restaurant- the kitchen takes up most of the space, and the dining area are tables arranged outside on the sidewalk with a good view of the Taipei Grand Hyatt. It was my first time eating "hole in the wall" Indian food, unless you counted the wraps I've gotten from Taipei night markets and LA food trucks. I was a little nervous about choosing a place to meet my cousin that I definitely didn't pick for decor, but luckily the food won us both over.
It's a bit hard to find since the address is 350-5. What the dash means is that it's somewhere near, behind or around the building with the first number. So when my taxi dropped me off at the corner of Keelung Rd (or is it Jilong now? Oh these changes drive me crazy) and Song Shou Rd, I still had to find the right number. Mayur Indian Kitchen is located closer to the corner of Keelung and RenAi, so look for the signage there and then seat yourself. The street in front of Mayur is one way and surprisingly quiet, so sitting on the sidewalk is not that bad. On a more recent visit, the seating had doubled to about 7-8 tables and a little cover had been for the rain/sun.
The most popular items seemed to be the lunch set served on metal trays, with chicken, beef, lamb or vegetable curries for NT$135/155, but my cousin and I wanted the good stuff. We asked for a menu and started to quiz the server.
The menu has quite few selections of meat and vegetarian curries, appetizers, naans and desserts. Naan came in both savory and sweet flavors, as well as with cheese and served like a pizza. No water is served, but drinks are available to purchase, like Limca or Kingfisher beer. Mayur Indian Kitchen also offers catering as well as to-go orders.
We ended up ordering a few things to start and kept ordering more as we tasted the food. The tandoori chicken (NT$120) was served as a thigh/leg, along with a plastic glove, at which we laughed, since that is often spotted at some of the food court restaurants in Taipei. We asked for a knife to split the chicken to share, and I think the chef gave us one of his cutting knives since people usually just get the curry lunch sets or devour the whole thing by themselves? The chicken was tender and flavorful, though not as bright red as I've seen it in other restaurants.
Then came our chicken tikka masala. The chicken is served on the bone and can be a bit of a pain to eat. On my second visit, the curry was served in a bigger plate and the chicken was cut, but still on the bone, which made it slightly easier to scrape off the meat and dip the naan into the curry without making a mess.
The butter naan (NT$55) is perfectly chewy and crispy and cut into pieces to share.
The rice is not basmati rice so I was slightly disappointed, but I still ate a little with the curry.
We ended up having to reorder the spinach, or palak paneer when we realized it never came. When the chicken tikka masala came out, I had thought, what a great portion size, two bowls, but it turned out that we had a miscommunication and when we thought we were ordering saag paneer, or spinach with paneer cheese, he thought we wanted just the paneer cheese inside the curry. But I've visited Mayur Indian Kitchen recently and the menu has been updated, including items like palak paneer with photos so that there's no confusion. There's also a good selection of vegetarian dishes, like lentils or aloo gobi for non-meat eaters.
Samosas (NT$45) come plump and fried, stuffed with bright yellow curried potatoes and peas.
Prices at Mayur Indian Kitchen are quite reasonable for the flavors and portions compared to other Indian restaurants in Taipei and there's definitely been a need for a good Indian spot in the Xinyi area, as my last few visits to mall food court Indian Palace were quite bad. Even though ordering ala carte can get pricier than the lunch curry set (about NT$200-400/person), it's steal for the variety, and still cheaper than taking a taxi to Saffron, my current favorite Indian restaurant in Taipei.
It's also a good sign that the dishes were consistently good on both visits, as many Indian restaurants in Taipei can be quite inconsistent, or even stray off Indian flavors, as I experienced at a recent first trip to Dazzle Curry Indian restaurant.
Mayur Indian Kitchen used to have dosas on the menu, but have taken them off the menu due to lack of demand- maybe with advance notice they could make a batch for those craving some. If you have special requests, like making it extra spicy, or want to order off the menu, give Mayur Indian Kitchen a try. You might that the seats might be all filled up on weekends, as they were much busier on a weekday lunch hour recently than my first visit a few months ago.
B2, No. 8, Zhongshan 1st Rd, Luzhou District, New Taipei City