Cold winter nights call for steamy curries and sharing a bottle of red with friends.
When winter rolls around, nobody wants to eat salad. Chilly nights and grey days call for carbs — lots of carbs — and hot stews, soups and curries. And because everything tastes better when somebody else makes it, it's important to know where to find these things.
Family-owned Taj Mahal is New Farm's favourite Indian restaurant, and it's the ultimate winter dinner destination. Located in a quaint wooden shop on the corner of Brunswick and Annie streets, you'll be drawn in by the warm decor, but you'll stay for the social atmosphere, amazing curries and plate-sized naan breads. Oh, and it's BYO, so bring a cold weather-appropriate bottle of red to wash down dinner with.
Everyone loves samosas, right? With mince or vegies wrapped in a thick pastry casing ($4.90), you just can't go wrong. They go great with tandoori chicken wings ($6.90) or chicken tikka ($8.90). Taj Mahal caters generously to vegetarians, and if you're partial to a creamy, sweet curry, you must not miss the Dal Makhani ($11.90). Made from lentils cooked in a thick sauce of butter, garlic and herbs, it's a flavour revelation. Other top vegie picks are the Aloo Gobi (potato and cauliflower curry, $13.90), Vegie Korma (creamy mixed vegie curry, $15.90) and the Saag Bhajee (spinach curry, $13.90).
For the carnivores in the room, the Prawn Madras (coconut-based curry with ginger and garlic, $17.90), Saag Gost (spinach curry with your choice of meat, $16.90) and the old classic, Butter Chicken ($16.90) are all delicious. Of course, no Indian meal is complete without a hot, buttery Naan bread, and the potato-stuffed Aloo Naan ($3.90) and the cheese and spinach Saag Paneer Naan ($4.20) are great accompaniments. For those with major appetites, the deluxe banquet package gives you entrees, Tandoori chicken, a main, a Naan and sides for $27.90 per head.
If you can fit anything else in after you're main is finished, desserts available include ice-cream ($4.90), Gajjar Halwa (carrot pudding, $5.90) and Ras Malai (dumplings in milk, $5.90).
The service is polite and meals hit the table quickly, although you might have to chase up water for the table (especially if you're hitting that BYO bottle of red). The central location just outside of Fortitude Valley, jovial atmosphere and table setup inside the restaurant makes it ideal for group dinners and parties or a meal before a night out.
Food can be ordered to takeaway, but if it's simply too cold to leave home, you don't have to miss out. Delivery is available to most inner suburbs.