Indian food affects people in many different ways. For those who are used to it, and enjoy it, life without it is unthinkable!
For others it can cause immediate physical discomfort!
Evidently there are enough people of the former category, living in and visiting Bali, to ensure that the little Gateway of India is almost always full on most evenings. Only open since August 1999, it has already doubled in size. The chefs were a part of Restaurant LG's short flirtation with Indian cuisine, but are now with family and friends in this new location.
For India-holics, this is a wonderful discovery. Most of your favourite dishes are available and they are prepared and delivered just as they would be if you were in India. Of course there are no beef dishes as this is a true Indian house. With Indian food, like many old cuisines, every region has long developed their own style. Here at GOI you may recognize some of the dishes but I'm sure many will represent a new experience. I have been eating Indian food for many years, and in many countries, but there are many dishes here that I have never seen or tasted before. Others, even though I may know the name well, are prepared in a different manner to the way in which I have previously had the dish presented.
Many unusual and fascinating dishes are available. It starts with the entrée's, and goes right through to every other part of the menu. Even the accompaniments are different, and immediately provided at your table, without having to be ordered. A Mango Chutney that is sweet and sour [also sold to take away], a bowl of small shallots that have been dyed red [?], and a green paste made from Cugny.
A Kathiroll is either meat or vegetables tossed with Mazedor spices, rolled in an almost transparent and very thin Romali Roti, then deep fried in tin foil. Sensational taste, mild but full of flavour! They are available in Vegetable, Chicken or Mutton. These are a must if you have never tried them before. They are split into two halves, so order different ones and share!
Naturally the traditional Samoosa's are not forgotten, and are prepared in a light crunchy pastry, not the too thick variety far too often encountered. They are available in Vegetarian, Chicken or Mutton. The Masala Dosa's are also very tempting. Creamy chunks of spiced potato, all wrapped up in an Indian crepe.
If you feel like tomato soup, with a difference, then try the Surkh Tamatar. Ripe, juicy, plum tomatoes, simmered slowly in their own juices and lightly spiced. Or, maybe a Shorba Murg. This soup consists of a richly flavoured chicken stock, garnished with coriander.
An array of dishes and naan breads are prepared in the restaurant's Tandoor up near the entrance. Some things that come from the Tandoor are a disappointment, particularly the Matabak, which I find quite dry. Yet the Akbari Kebab is something special. A whole breast of chicken stuffed with spices and minced mutton. Most unusual! There is also the usual Chicken Tikka, and a Prawn Koliwada, prawns that have been marinated before being placed in the Tandoor.
But the wet curries are the reason that most people come to GOI. Trying to decide which ones to order is a herculean task, so take plenty of friends so that you can order many dishes and taste them all. One dish that is a must for me on every visit is the Keema Mattar. Minced mutton liberally sprinkled with fresh green peas, cooked in a sauce with onions, chilli, ginger and tomatoes........Wow!
I know that it's not the Indian way, but I could even enjoy this dish on toast for breakfast !
The Murg Vindaloo, is a completely different dish to any vindaloo I have ever had before. Missing is the usual thick luscious sauce that the meat is normally encased in. This version uses spices from Goa. The chicken pieces, nice thick tender cubes, have been marinated in vinegar and the Goan spices before cooking. It certainly has some fire! A must for those that like their Indian food hot and spicy!
The Butter Chicken Tikka also takes you by surprise. It comes in a lush, rich, red buttery sauce, but it also has some firepower! Not the sweet little innocent dish served up in western style Indian establishments, elsewhere in the world.
Then there is the Kadai Chicken, boneless chunks of chicken that have been braised in a spicy fragrant sauce. If you are feeling very adventurous, how about a Fish Head Curry, you can't get more traditional than that! If you want something a little more normal, then the Prawn Masala won't disappoint.
The food at Gateway of India, is really exceptional. It is a shame that the service can leave a bit to be desired.
Fortunately the wonderful food makes up for it, but at times it can be very frustrating!
A limited selection of wines are sold, by the bottle.
But, as for that wonderful fragrant food....thank you, Gateway of India!
Latest Visit: I keep taking friends to this restaurant who claim to love and be experts in Indian food. Yet here they taste things they have never had before! The Kathirolls [in all three of their forms] continue to knock everyone out! Simply sensational! Not as busy as before, perhaps they should smarten the place up a bit including the service].