NOTE: I apologize for the lack of pictures in the following review of Cafe Maharani
I'm sorry to say that I've never had Indian food before in my life. Not to my knowledge anyway. So I was really excited to go check out Cafe Maharani last night on King Street, right before Down to Earth near University Avenue.
We got there around 7:20pm and ended up waiting about 40 minutes for a table. The place was packed! It doesn't help that there are only like 8-10 tables in the entire restaurant. While waiting to get seated, we browsed the menu and decided to order the dinner special for two ($39.99) which includes a samosa appetizer, rice, naan, and a choice of 2 entrees (no seafood).
One good thing about Maharani is that it's BYOB. We brought a bottle of cab with us and paid just a $1.50 corkage fee. Too bad the wine glasses they gave us were plastic though.
The samosa came out first. The samosa is a deep fried pastry filled with curry like spices and vegetables. I don't know if it was because I was really hungry (having skipped lunch) but I really enjoyed it. It was like a Japanese bakery curry croquette in the shape of a cone but without the breading on the outside. The pastry exterior was light and fluffy and the innards were good too. Perhaps a tad on the dry side but a good start. The sauces they gave to put on the samosa were spicy but good.
The the entrees came. First out came the Karahi lamb, which was presented on a sizzling hot platter. Ooh....I was salivating at the huge tender chunks of lamb mixed in with pieces of onion and bell pepper. It looked so yummy! I stuck my knife into the lamb to cut it and it parted like the Red Sea. So tender....
The other entree we ordered was a Tandoori chicken, which came in a small stew pot. There were about 5-6 huge chunks of chicken meat mixed in with what tasted like a tomato based sauce. Hoo, this was spicy! But again the chicken was very tender and the sauce that accompanied it was so ono. A winnah.
The rice and naan were of the plain variety since we had no choice in either due to ordering the set menu for two. The rice was adequate as a carb filler but the naan was awesome! It came in huge half pizza like pieces and piping hot. The outer edges were crispy and the inner parts were oh so fluffy and light. Dipping the naan into the Tandoori chicken sauce was the best!
Overall I really enjoyed my first Indian food experience and will definitely go back to Cafe Maharani. The only negatives I would have to say were the limited parking, slightly slow but attentive service, and a few little too small tables.
But if you're interested in Indian, definitely check this place out!