Review of Taj Curry House in Kingston, Ontario
A Bit of History
The Taj Curry House is a small Indian restaurant located in historic downtown Kingston. It was first opened in 2010. The initial owners, Jayanta Datta and Sheuly Ghosh, were a young couple originally from Montreal. They wanted to move to a smaller city in Ontario so their young sons didn't have to stay behind a year in school. Kingston was an ideal place for them. They opened up the restaurant simply because Jayanta loved to cook.
When you first walk into the Taj Curry House, you notice its small size immediately. The restaurant occupies a narrow oblong space. Earthy tones quickly envelope you. The maroon and light brown walls act as the backdrop. Colourful art adorns the neutral walls. A framed landscape painting particularly stands out. Dark brown patchy tiles quietly lie beneath your feet, while bright orange pendant lights illuminate the cozy space. Tasteful dark brown wooden tables and chairs line the walls of the restaurants. There are also TVs at the back of the restaurant as well as near the entrance. These seem out of place, probably more fitting in a sports bar than a dinning establishment.
Overall, the decor and colours create an atmosphere that is relaxed and comfortable.
Their menu includes classic Indian fare as well as some that other restaurants don't offer.
They serve Mulligatawny and Dall soups. Both contain red lentils.
There are many popular appetizers including Onion Bhaji, and Samosas to choose from. They also have Dall and Aloo Puri, Garden Salad and Papadum.
The Taj offers many special curries including Dekchi Gosht, Balti Gosht, Methi Gosht, Aloo Gosht, Dupiaza, Ragan Josh and Phatia. These come with your choice of protein such as chicken, beef or lamb. Kasmiri Chicken, Butter Chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala, Fish, Lamb or Beef Masala are some of the other special curries.
There are also a variety of classic curries on the menu. These include Korma, Plain Curry, Saag, Bhoona, Dansak, Madras and Vindaloo. Like the special curries, you can choose your favourite protein.
You can also pick from a number of vegetables dishes. A selection is listed here: Vegetable Sambar, Ghobi Bhaji, Aloo Ghobi Peas, Saag Aloo, Saag Mattar Paneer and Saag Cholay.
These are Basmatic rice dishes with your choice of protein served with
coconut and a variety of spices, and garnished with boiled egg.
They serve two types of bread: Chapati and Naan.
There are a variety of rices from Peas Palao to Brown Rice.
They have a large selection of condiments including Yogurt, Mango Chutney, to Hot Sauce to name a few.
Lastly, you can find four desserts on their menu. They are Kulfi (ice cream), Gulab Jamun, Ice Cream, Rosmalai.
Their prices are slightly expensive. Soup and appetizer prices range from $0.99 to $4.99. Curries run from $11.95 to $15.95. Their vegetable dishes start at $9.50 and go up to $11.95. Their rices dishes go for $2.50 to $16.95. Condiment and breads are cheaper ranging from $1.95 to $3.50. Desserts are all $4.50.
When we arrived at the restaurant, we were given water and complimentary Papadum . The Papadum was crispy and quite good.
For appetizer, my friend and I got Onion Bhaji. These are deep fried thinly sliced onions, with mashed red lentils prepared with chick pea flour and many spices. There were six pieces so we each had three. It came with a dipping sauce, which was quite nice with the Onion Bhaji. Overall, these were pretty good, although not the best I've ever had.
Chicken Tikka Masala
We ordered three dishes to share. One of them was Chicken Tikka Masala. This is a medium spicy special curry cooked with chicken, extra yogurt, fenugreek leaves and other spices. When the dish came, we saw large chunks of chicken breast surrounded by bright orange curry. The meat was nice and tender and quite moist. The curry was rich, slightly spicy with just right amount of spices. It was very flavourful and toothsome.
We ordered a vegetable dish, Saag Aloo, with our meal. Saag Aloo is chopped spinach and potato cooked with a variety of spices. It was season just right. I could sense warmth from the cumin and other spices in it. I was pleased with the dish.
We ordered a serving of rice to go with our meal. The rice that we got seemed pretty plain. It appears to be cooked with clarified butter, turmeric for colour and a bit of salt for flavour. The rice was well separated and not too dry. It had a neutral flavour as to not overwhelm the other dishes.
We were served by a woman waitress. She may have been one of the owners but we didn't verify. She was attentive and very efficient. After the meal, she even chatted with us. Overall, I though the service was top notch.
The cleanliness of a restaurant's washroom reflects how sanitary they are overall and their attention to detail. The washrooms at the Taj Curry House were quite roomy. It was well stocked and looked pretty clean to me. There were cleaning supplies out in the open, which is sort of unusual to see at a restaurant. In the corridor, on the way to the washroom, were lots of supplies and boxes piling up against the wall. This seemed a bit odd. I suspect they didn't have a lot of storage space in the restaurant.
Know Before You Go
As usual, I like to check how a restaurant does in their most recent health inspection. Know Before You Go is a website run by the Local Health Unit. They report their health inspection results on this website. I can see on the website that there was an inspection in January 2017, but no details of the report are shown. So I'm not sure how they did with no data available.
The Final Verdict
The Taj Curry House has been serving Indian cuisine to the Kingston community for about seven years. You can relax and enjoy your meal in a warm atmosphere. As their name suggests, they have a large selection of curries as well as other Indian dishes. We ordered Onion Bhaj, Chicken Tikka Masala, Saag Aloo and Rice. They were all well seasoned, and flavourful with just the right amount of spice. Their washrooms were clean and well stock. Unfortunately, no results were available for their health inspection. Overall, my experience of Taj Curry House was a good one, and I think you would enjoy it too.