Budapest Times - May 2006
Unique Kashmiri tastes for Budapest
This week’s review: Kashmir, District V. Just when you thought Budapest's curry house frenzy was over, yet another arrives on the scene. That doesn't mean, however, that Kashmir in District V is an unwelcome addition. Following in the footsteps of Salaam Bombay, Kama Sutra and Indigo, which have consciously avoided the traditional Indian restaurant theme and gone for something a little less obvious and more upmarket, Kashmir is a cosy, intimate little place, occupying a very central spot on Arany János utca.
Unlike the aforementioned eateries, which have all gone for their own variations on the ultra-modern, Kashmir is simple, unfussy and warmly-lit - it's essentially a more casual affair. The restaurant's gallery area is also a nice touch and will no doubt be popular with larger groups, be they corporate groups or stag parties.
But on to the food. For such a small place, Kashmir's menu is surprisingly extensive, of course featuring the obligatory Kashmiri dishes along with a wide selection of more typical choices. We decided to go for one of the more well-known options in addition to one of the special Kashmiri dishes, mainly because with Indian restaurants, the standard curries are generally those by which you can fairly accurately gauge the overall quality and approach of the cooking.
Kashmir didn't fail. The chicken pakora starter which came with a selection of apple, mint and tamarin sauces (HUF 790) was pretty middle of the road but nonetheless a more-than-acceptable opener, as was the chilli paneer (tangy cottage cheese cubes flavoured with garlic, also HUF 790) but the main dishes were the real crowd-pleasers.
My lamb bhuna (HUF 1,790) wasn't quite as distinctive as a couple I have tried in my usual curry hangouts of Glasgow and Nairobi, but then this is Budapest and local (i.e. unadventurous) tastes have to be taken into account when it comes to curry. Nevertheless, it was pretty robust, tangy and clearly put together by chefs who know their stuff.
The real surprise of the evening was my companion's Dum Aloo Kashmiri, which consists of potatoes stuffed with cheese and nuts and served in a nut sauce with fennel (HUF 1,390). Distinctive and certainly unique in this part of the world, it was met with great enthusiasm and similarly devoured.
We accompanied the main courses with lemon and mint rice (HUF 450) and naan bread (HUF 250) and finished off with a delicious mango mousse (HUF 590) and another interesting creation, the chocolate samosa (basically pasties filled with chocolate sauce, HUF 800) which again were excellent although no doubt frighteningly calorie-laden.
Although probably more suited for evening visits, Kashmir will be introducing a business lunch soon and in this location it will make a fine alternative for office workers tired of the cloned sandwich bars and cafés in the area.
District V, Arany János u 13
Open daily: noon-4pm, 6pm-11pm