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Mar 3, 2012 03:02 PM

British style Indian restaurant

I was wondering if anyone knows of a British style Indian restaurant in SF or the Bay area. Although there are lots of Indians in the area, we can't find anywhere that does the thick sauce spicy curries like what you get in the Uk. I know it's not very authentic, but I think I would chew my own arm off to get a good hot chicken jalfrezi.


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  1. If you are wiling to do the long drive - Tastebuds in Sunnyvale does very spicy renditions of Vindaloo and Tikka Masala if you ask. In Sf, Shalimar, Pakwan or Darbar may be able to, I haven't been to the locations in SF in a long time, but they used to be the standbys.

    Kabana in Berkeley may be able to do spicy curries to your liking. They may not have the British Vindaloo or Tikka Masala options . .. can't recall off the top of my head.

    3 Replies
    1. re: goldangl95

      We're actually in Mountain View so Sunnyvale is easy for us. I'll check Tastebuds out. Thanks

      1. re: N1cky

        I recently tried Tastebuds based on the recommendations here, and I was extremely disappointed by the food. It was mediocre at best and not at all spicy. The flavors were dull and one-dimensional. Of everything we tried, only the naan was satisfying. I wasn't surprised that the service and ambiance were lacking, but I expected much more of the food. I would not advise going here.

        1. re: amydeastbay

          If you ordered off the menu, I have to fervently disagree. Did you ask for the food to be spicy? What did you order? Did you have the Fish Pulusu?

          (I've never had the buffet so that could be the issue, I like my Indian food much more spicy than most buffets so avoid them most places)/

          Also, as I'm always eager to try new places, what are your go to Indian places in the area?

    2. Ah! If you are down in the Penninsula/South Bay, also try Shalimar's location in Sunnyvale.
      I haven't been, but Shah Restaurant also may have what you want. The trick is to avoid the buffet (not that the buffets aren't great at some of these places - just the spice level that you want won't be there) and earnestly convince them you want the food spicy and can handle it.

      8 Replies
      1. re: goldangl95

        I've been to all of those places, except Tastebuds, and I don't think any are "british style" (I've had a few curries in britian, too). They're all more authentic. However, I have two recommendations. Darbar in PA's Vindaloo is pretty danged good, if it's not quite up to Phaal temperature. It's a little deeper and richer, but not fully out of range of the british styles. Second, I would check out anywhere with Chettinad in the name. For example, Anjappar Chettinad in Milpitas and Aachi Aappakadi in Sunnyvale have some serious heat by default. You will be popping sweat. Passage To India (MV/PA border) will make food insanely hot if you want it hot, but it's quite one dimensional at that point. Aappakadi has no beer. Shah? No. Shalimar, Pakwan, these places are more pakistani, wihch is at least north indian, but I've never managed to get real heat out of them -- as suggested, you might need to put on your extra earnest face, but the place is too rushed usually.

        1. re: bbulkow

          Jalfrezi is a Pakistani dish. Pakistani food tends to be spicier than North Indian food due to preference of using oil instead of cream. Hence the Chicken Tikka Masala etc. preparations if done well should be very spicy.

          Tastebuds is Andhra food which is notorious in India for being very very spicy. Their Fish Pulusu is a great dish (though not British Indian in any way). Tastebuds is also a newer Indian restaurant and has no problem dishing out the spicy if you ask. I feel that the older South Asian restaurants in the Bay Area (e.g. Shalimar) all got scarred by their experiences in the 80s, and it's much harder to convince them that you DO want it spicy. But it is indeed possible.

          Tamil food (Chettinad) is also spicy, but depending on where you go. Meat dishes might not be that great as they tend to be more vegetarian in focus.

          1. re: goldangl95

            Actually Anjappar Chettinadi focuses on meat dishes and are super free with green and red chilies. Much higher heat level than any of the Andhra style restaurants I have been to in the area.

            1. re: chefj

              I haven't been to this location of Anjappar Chettinadi, so I can't speak yet to it. But if it's representative of their other branches and Chettinad food, I'm sure it is very spicy. But it isn't a contest, as you may know, in their native forms (Andhra and Tamil non-veg) food is incredibly spicy.

              Have you been to Tastebuds? I would recommend giving it a try if you are ever down this way. I guarantee that their level of Andhra "hot" is quite satisfactorily up to Tamil standards.

              And it's good to know that the Tamil restaurants coming over here are non-veg in focus, though I'm still skeptical of their ability to turn out a good Chicken Tikka Masala.

              1. re: goldangl95

                Since the only Chettinadi restaurant mentioned was Anjappar I just wanted clarify that they are a non veg focused restaurant and up to par with any local Andhra style restaurants in the area when it comes to spicing. No competition intended.
                I will check out Tastebuds. Any specific dishes you think they excel at?
                As far as C.T.M. I'll leave that to the North Indian/Paki spots, I lost my taste for that kind of food.

                1. re: chefj

                  Their Fish Pulusu is really good. Also their eggplant Masala, lemon rice, tamarind rice all great. During the summer, they serve Gongura dishes (goat, mutton, chicken) that are really interesting.

                  They also serve good renditions (but not really unique) of Mirch Baji, Gobi Manchurian etc.

                  Ask them for it very spicy, and you shall receive
                  (at least I've had no problems).

                  1. re: goldangl95

                    At places that already have generously spiced food I have no need for "Very Spicy" request.
                    Thanks for the suggestions.

                    1. re: chefj

                      Taste Buds also gets a lot of patrons from the bar in the shopping center who just want some mild chicken tikka masala. So do let them know what you want in terms of spice and they'll make it that way. In addition to Goldangl95's recommendations, I really enjoy the goat curry, and the gongura specialities in the summertime are some of favorite dishes from any cuisine in the Bay Area.


      2. I liked the branch of Shan that used to be in SF. They have jalfrazi.

        1. There are two curry places that are attached to Pubs. May be they would have what you are looking for. I have not eaten at either so cannot speak to their authenticity or quality.
          Raj India Cuisine Oakland
          Kennedy's Irish Pub & Curry House

          5 Replies
          1. re: chefj

            I had some of the worst Indian food of my life at Kennedy's, which like the Kerry House connected with Raj is an Irish bar. Raj got a couple of positive reports in 2004.


            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              so how does it compare to "British style Indian" that the poster is in search of?

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                We had Indian food last night (Ajanta in Albany) and I had a dish I had not heard of before: Dakshini Lamb. It was really good (you can get food at various levels of spiciness there). why have I not seen it anywhere else?

                1. re: Kim Cooper

                  Dakshini Lamb - just means Lamb from the South. I assume it's a modern update/interpretation of a Tamil/South Indian curry. From a Google search, it appears it's a dish that took off in the UK.

                  As a result, it'll be super hard to find an equivalent. Some places won't use coconut milk, some places will use cashews, some places won't use tamarind etc.

                  Places likely to have something similar would be Amber India or Dosa.

                  1. re: Kim Cooper

                    Ajanta is known for having dishes no one else has, and only having them for a few weeks. I remember having Gold Leaf Chicken once before they moved from Telegraph Ave to Solano where they are now. I love their menu, I just wish their tastes were bolder.

              2. Shalimar in SF (Jones St.), Fremont (Walnut), and Sunnyvale (El Camino) is the best Pakistani/Northern Indian food around. On a Friday night or Friday will see 95% Indian/Pakistanis in there enjoying their meals...and the rest of us are folks in the know. Been going there for over ten years.