CholaNad, Chapel Hill

  

Chapel Hill has recently gained another Indian restaurant in the old Cypress on the Hill space.  A couple of weekends ago we checked out the new CholaNad for lunch.  The room is simple and modern with exposed duct work, sleek wooden furniture, and crisp white tablecloths.  It is basically the same as it was before with a few Indian wall hangings.

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Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe, Chapel Hill

With a last minute cancellation, we changed our March NRT outing to a more casual option than our original choice.  This gave me the opportunity to finally try Vimala’s Curry Blossom in Chapel Hill.  This counter service restaurant is in the space which used to be occupied by Sandwhich in the Courtyard complex.  The space is simple with a few small tables, some counters, and bright walls.  The menu offers home cooked Indian options and oddly enough a pulled-pork entrée.  While the menu offers regular items, there are several daily specials.  This just demonstrates that this place is a labor of love for owner and chef Vimala Rajendran.  She cooks and serves what she likes and what inspires her on a daily basis.

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Saffron at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill

We went to Saffron to celebrate a friend’s birthday.  The original, which gets great reviews, is in Morrisville (we have yet to try it).  This new location in Chapel Hill is in the new mixed use development on 54.  The space is just lovely!  The dimly lit room is decorated with rich mahogany wood furnishings and Indian artwork in jewel tones.  It is indeed one of the most beautiful rooms!  We made a reservation but it wasn’t necessary as it was almost empty when we arrived on a Tuesday evening.

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Spice & Curry, Durham

You know how your mother always taught you that “if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything.”  Well, that is why it has taken me so long to decide to write this post.  Just over a month ago, we tried Spice & Curry in Durham with a couple of friends.  The reviews online were decent and the food was supposed to be very good so I thought we would give it a try.

We arrived on a Friday night around 7:30pm.  The place was fairly empty with just a few customers.  The decor is extremely basic and plain with a huge TV on one end of the restaurant playing Bollywood music videos.  The wait staff seemed a bit nonchalant, as we had to ask for menus and silverware.  Our waiter finally made it to our table and we ordered several items.  We decided to start with the Spinach Pakora and the Idli Sambar.  The pakora were quite good with a nice crispy, saltiness.  The idli, which are a south Indian specialty, were light and had just the right sourness.  The sambar, which is the traditional accompaniment to idli, was also quite nice.  I can’t remember all of the dishes we tried but they were all decent.  We tried the Chicken 65, a spicy deep fried chicken dish, which was quite tasty with a nice spiciness.  We also tried the Navaratan Korma, a vegetarian curry, which had a fair amount of paneer and a spicy, creamy sauce.

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Mint, Chapel Hill

When my parents were in town we decided to try Mint and Indian restaurant on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill.  We made a reservation for 7:00pm on a Saturday night and we are so glad that we did.  The place was packed!  We waited a few minutes as they cleared off a table.  The wait and people sitting at the bar continued to grow as we ate.  The room is nice but basic with cream walls and mission style wooden chairs and white table clothes.  There is a sitar player near the front door who adds nice ambient music.

We started with Assorted Vegetarian Platter which included a Samosa, Aloo Tikki, Vegetable Palora, and Cheese Pakora.  The samosa skin was a bit thick and bready and the potato filling was a little bland.  The cheese pakora (made with paneer) was delicious!  I really liked the use of the chick pea flour batter since it added a rich, nutty flavor to the paneer.

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Kandas, Morrisville

G’s family was in town a few weeks ago and they love to go out for Indian food.  Since we haven’t established our favorite Indian place yet we did some research online and decided to try Kandas in Morrisville.  The restaurant is in a strip mall and is very basic in décor.  The menu is primarily focused on the North Indian dishes typically seen on restaurant menus.  They did, however, have a section of a few Indo-Chinese options.  We tried the Chicken Tikka Masala, which is chicken cooked tandoori style (marinated and cooked in a clay oven) served in a creamy masala sauce.  It was tasty with just the right creaminess.  We tried the Dal Tadka, which is a simple dish of yellow split peas spiced with cumin seeds.  It was very comforting and simple.  The Karaikudi Mutton Masala was a nice goat curry which was spicy and rich.  The Fish Moilee is a curry of sautéed fish flavored with turmeric, ginger, green chilies, mustard seed, fenugreek seeds and tempered with coconut milk.  It was a rich creamy dish with a flavorful sauce.  Overall, the food was tasty and well prepared but nothing amazing.  I was a disappointed in the minimal amount of meat in each dish.  I would like to try some of the Indo-Chinese dishes one day.  If it was closer to us, I could see it as a go-to for take out however, I am not sure it is worth the drive.

Kandas
kandasnc.com
10255 Chapel Hill Road
Morrisville, NC 27560
919-461-9930

Punjab, Arlington

For our NRT outing in May we tried Punjab in Arlington.  The space is beautiful!  It is a very large spacious room decorated in warm tones of brown, orange, and yellow.  The room is separated into smaller dining spaces and a long bar.  The menu is quite extensive with dishes not only from the Punjab region but also from other areas of India.  I was sitting with the vegetarian table and we tried a few dishes.  The Malai Kofta is a dish of balls made of mined vegetables and cooked in a mild cream sauce.  The kofta balls were tasty however, the sauce itself was too creamy and was not well balance with the spices.  We also tried the Dhal Makhani which is a lentil dish which was nice with a good balance of spice.  We also tried the Paneer Vindaloo.  Vindaloo is a Goan curry dish which is typically prepared with lamb or chicken and is very spicy.  I was excited to try a paneer version of this dish.  However, it was extremely bland and not spicy at all!  It was a disappointment.  The consensus of the group was that the food was average and comparable to the majority of Indian restaurants in town.

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