Curryliina's Curry House and Indian Restaurant
Whatever you are expecting of an Indian restaurant, Curryliina's is going to surprise you. Curryliina's offers Anglo-Indian cuisine made by a lawyer from Finland and mother of 5, who runs this family restaurant with her daughters. Karolina got hooked on this cuisine while living in England, but when she moved her family to Israel she discovered that to enjoy these very popular English foods she was going to have to make it herself.
Not prepared to do anything half way, Karolina advertised in the UK and brought an Indian star chef Kuldeep Singh to Israel to teach her the secrets. His challenge was to create the unique kosher versions of the cuisine with no dairy ingredients. Now the restaurant offers professionally made Anglo-Indian foods just like you will find in many places in England.
People ask whether the food is Northern Indian or Southern Indian, but in fact it is Anglo-Indian, a style of mixing British colonial cooking and spicing methods with traditional Indian cuisine. This is the dominant style in the UK, where the 12,000 Indian restaurants are the most popular ethnic style, and several kosher restaurants as well.
A word of caution - or maybe just another unexpected. The restaurant is in an unattractive part of the Bnei Brak industrial area. This unintentionally adds to the authenticity of the Indian experience because though just one block from Kenyon Ayalon, Ramat Gan, the neighborhood will remind you of a Bombay slum. The interior, however is surprisingly modern, clean and inviting and the city plans to clean up and widen the street.
We have been to a lot of restaurants in our eLuna travels, but I don't remember one of them where customers who did not know us, stopped to rave about the food. Yes, as we entered the restaurant, an American couple from Queens, NY - new olim - and already regulars at this relatively new restaurant, encouraged us to try the variety of dishes. Even their nine-year old daughter was a fan.
You would feed this hot stuff to a kid? She loves it. Whatever works.
Curryliina’s serves a rich selection of Indian dishes including Poppadums (crackers made of chickpea flour), Naan bread (laffa style bread) with spices, nine kinds of curry ranging from the sweet to the spicy-hot, with and without meat, vegetable curries, and three kinds of rice: Plain, Pillau and Lemon.
The three of us shared four meat curries, two vegetable curries and two kinds rice, white and Pilau (Pilaff).
The meal began with a basket of crispy, flaky Poppadums accompanied by three dips, ranging from spicy to sweet, just to get us started. Then the bowls of fluffy white and Pilau rice came out (rice with fragrant spices, cooked in broth), along with a basket of Indian spice Naan bread to replace the bowl of crackers.
Immediately the table was crowded with bowls of vegetarian Dhall Makhani with lentils, sweet Chicken Korma, with a strong flavor of coconut, mildly spicy Chicken Masala, a hotter chicken curry with long red peppers, and a sweetish mixed vegetable curry. The curries were served in small bowls for sharing. Other than the rice, none of the dishes were really bland. We asked for a refill of the sweet Chicken Korma, and couldn’t finish the spicy chicken curry between the three of us. Actually, that dish was my favorite, but eating it was a challenge.
Curryliina’s best sellers are the Chicken Masala and the curry with meat balls, a uniquely British dish that had sold out by the time we arrived. The menu changes daily, as the chef Kuldeep Singh sends recipes and suggestions for the restaurant to try out, so any day can hold a surprise.
There is indoor and outdoor seating, and friendly family-style service.
The menu posted on the web site and printed in the restaurant is actually the take-out menu. The business lunch menu is posted on the wall. There is no a la carte menu yet, and we were charged a flat rate of NIS 65 per person at the table. This included non-meat eaters.