A superb first impression: Singh's Cafe in Wellesley (detailed review)
A few nights ago, I got home late from a conference in Chicago, and the last thing I wanted to do was prepare dinner.
I had a strong craving for some Indian "comfort food", and decided to call up Singh's Cafe in Wellesley, since I'd heard they'd recently opened and wanted to give them a try.
I was not in the mood to try anything adventurous, so I decided to settle on an old standby favorite, chicken tikka masala, and a couple kinds of bread. Hard to mess that up, right?
Well, the chicken tikka masala was superb. A very fine rendition, with tender chicken chunks, and a rich sauce that wasn't too greasy, like many other CTMs can be. The spicing was balanced and bright, and the sauce was most likely finished with pure ghee and/or cream, though with a careful hand. Still not a dish for the health conscious, I know. Mainly, I was impressed that they pulled off a delicious CTM without having to resort to the OVERUSE of ghee and cream. A very well-balanced sauce.
Laccha paratha is a flaky, layered Indian flatbread, and it may actually trump the ubiquitous naan as a personal favorite. Singh's Cafe's rendition was probably one of the better versions I've had. Packed in a foil-lined thermo bag, the layers were distinct, and the dough had a home-made taste with a slight masala-y background. My gripe with many of Boston's take-out parathas, is that the layers often become mooshed together during transit, and some times, aren't even properly cooked all the way through.
The naan was also excellent, with spots of fluffy chewiness, and buttery crispiness. Notably, neither the laccha paratha nor the naan were terribly greasy. And to think, just a few days ago, I ate at some crap Indian place in the Hyatt Hotel in Chicago, that I'm CONVINCED uses Bisquick mix to make their naan!
The place is on Washington St., in Wellesley, and was a quick drive up Route 9 from where I live in Newton. The restaurant is situated in a garden level space, although the place was far from gloomy. Tastefully decorated and cozy, I'd say. Nice place to bring a family. There were even a few guys having drinks at the small bar.
A notable, kind gesture: I arrived a few minutes before my take-out order was ready, and they had me sit in a solitary chair near the bar area. I felt a tad awkward, sitting amongst the staff, but then I received a complimentary, small bowl of a DELICIOUS yellow daal, very home-made tasting with a touch of ghee.
Then, I was presented with a complimentary, full-sized glass of mango lassi. They must have been reading my mind, because I was totally fiendin' for a mango lassi, and was close to ordering one for the road. It was mango-y and delicious. Not overly sweet, and not stingily watered down.
The above-mentioned gestures of hospitality left a very pleasant impression on me. Hospitality is trait I find that is often lacking in Indian restaurants.
I was very glad to get a glimpse of some of Singh's Cafe's strengths, and I look forward to trying more things from the menu.
I had their weekend brunch a month ago and it was REALLy good too. I definitely will go back soon.
Interesting. The big turnoff with that space - and the reason for the big turn-over in restaurants that have tried it - is that the rooms are small, chopped up, and have low ceilings. It is in the basement, after all - but the original Craigie Street Bistro showed how that "limitation" can be overcome. Will give it a try.