Wednesday, March 06, 2013

CLOSED! indian/food court: i strongly recommend CAFE INDIA

Closed! summer 2015

CAFE INDIA 歡迎寶來屋印度風味餐廳
at Shin Kong Mitsukoshi A4 food court
No.19, Song Gao Road, B2

MRT: Taipei City Hall

website: English, Chinese and Japanese

hours: $-$$

Kid friendliness: food court seating and limited bar seating

Visit reviewed: 2/6/2013 and 2/27/2013

I know that you guys are looking for great places to eat Indian food in Taipei too... my slightly outdated shortlist page is one of the top most visited pages for so lots of you are googling for "Indian food in Taipei."

The first time I tried Cafe India was last month when I was looking for a quick bite in the area and I wasn't feeling like the usual food court suspects. I was a little hesitant to try Cafe India since my last experience with the food at that location, previously housing Indian Palace, was less than ok.

But a new name should mean a new owner and new chefs right? So I quizzed the Indian cashier and chef in English and settled on the butter chicken set menu, which comes with a similar looking mini salad and watery cream corn soup. The English and Chinese menu has about 15 different types of curry, including vegetarian options, fried rice, tandoori sets and lamb and fish curry options.

At first glance, the curry was already a lot better last my last time- the butter chicken (NT$250) looked creamy and ready to be sopped up the naan and was the right vivid color. The taste was perfect too- sweet and spicy with sizeable chunks of boneless chicken and the huge naan was fluffy and airy, the way I love it. 

Following the tradition of other Indian food court trays, the curry comes with a choice of naan or yellow rice, a soup and small salad. The creamy corn soup is bit too sweet and syrupy for my tastes and the salad falls into the "pleasing the Taiwanese customer" flavor.

I had been thinking about Cafe India so much that I ended up choosing it as a dinner spot for some friends before watching SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. I kept getting texts from them confirming "Where? In the food court?" and responding "Yes! The food court! B2!"

I think the best way to eat Indian food is to have an assortment and share family style, so I was excited to be able to try more. I reordered the butter chicken (NT$250), then also got the palak paneer spinach, chicken lababdar, aloo gobi and tandoori chicken. I also upgraded one of our naans into a buttery garlic naan. I definitely recommend the naan over the yellow rice which was too mushy for me. 

I was happy the food was consistent with the first visit and still excellent so that my friends didn't think I was crazy. It was my first time having chicken lababdar (NT$250) and I really loved it. It had a strong creamy tomato flavor and notes of cumin. 

The aloo gobi (NT$220) wasn't too heavy and had a good mix of fork tender potato and cauliflower. I also really liked the Indian cottage cheese in the spinach palak paneer.

The tandoori chicken was a good size- 6 tender, meaty pieces for NT$298. Super tender and perfect for sharing family style (or hoarding to yourself). Came steaming hot to the table.

I didn't know until I asked the second visit that Cafe India has actually been around a long time. The A4 food court location is a branch of the original Tianmu restaurant, which also has buffets . Lucky for me, this location is much closer for me (as well as all those visiting the conventions in the TWTC Halls).

We ended up sharing four curries and one plate of tandoori chicken between 5 people, basically one set per person. I loved everything and we devoured everything. What I ordered was only mildly spicy, but if you like it extra spicy, be sure to tell them and I'm sure they can add the heat. The prices are good compared to what you'd get at a sit down Indian restaurant in Taipei (especially somewhere like Saffron in Tianmu which I also love, but also so far away for me), so as long as your friends don't mind congregating in a food court and have everyone stare while you take over a table and fill it with completely with Indian food, then get a group together ASAP.

No. 30, Koqiang Rd, Tianmu
(02) 2837-7365


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Lauren said...

I miss Taiwan's food courts! Need to plan a trip to Taiwan asap. Will def check out that Indian food :)

Anonymous said...

I love following your blog. However, i started to doubt in some of the recommendations. For this particular post, its a strongly recommended place!? I tried out today, the curries were so bland and bad! I mean, everybody has their own taste but at least not "strongly recommend". Hope you change the headline so wont be misleading to others. Thanks

joanh said...

Anonymous- thanks for your feedback.. Which curries did you get? I think for the price point and variety I've overall had good experiences that warranted return visits. Did you specify that you wanted it spicier?

joanh said...

@anonymous- I did go back a few months after you posted and the curries were definitely not the same as the previous visits. I think when you visited they had already changed chefs or something. And I think that’s why they ended up closing