For tourists visiting Rome, I’d adamantly advice them to eat Italian food at Italian restaurants. What’s the point after all, if you travel all the way to another country but you don’t try their local food and specialities?
But as an Asian living in Rome, as much as I love Italian food, sometimes I miss a piece of home every now and then.
Anyway, I’ve noticed this Little Indian restaurant for a while, each time I walk near the Termini station, but it was only while walking with my friend Claire last month, was when we decided to give this little place a try.
I think it’s quite new as when I double checked with google maps, it looked way different to how it looks like now.
One thing which was kind of strange though, was that when you approach it, you’ll see two other little restaurants beside it serving exactly the same food at the same prices! I imagine that all three are managed by the same person or the owners are friends.
Anyway, as you can see, the food served are prominently displayed with pictures as well as prices. There isn’t that much variety – no desserts, no appetizers, focusing more on the main meals but it was enough for casual dining.
Asking for food is pretty much fast food restaurant style. You queue up, choose the food you want, pay the amount and then wait for the server to be done heating up your food. It might be a little of a hassle trying to order food here because a couple of the servers don’t seem to speak Italian nor English very well. But no big issue, just gesture
I asked the server if they served halal food, and they said that they do. While there was no certification, it’s easy to believe this as the owner is Pakistani and also halal meat is easily attainable from Mercato Esquilino which sells international foodstuff, is just a few minutes walking distance away.
And when you have your food, just pick a free spot to sit. It’s free seating. While the restaurant isn’t a large or classy place, it’s cosy and clean and inviting to me. It reminds me so much of a mamak stall, be it in Singapore or Malaysia
I ordered Chicken Briyani and asked them to pour a little bit of curry gravy on top. And tasting it, it was really good! While I’ve already eaten in another Indian restaurant, I really liked the rustic taste of this one. The rice was soft, moist and flavourful in the spices, the chicken juicy, it tasted just like the regular Briyani that I grew up with.
Of course, being in Italy, the food had to be catered to the masses and it was definitely mild. Not hot at all for the chilli monster. Talking to the owner, I was amused when he told us that he wouldn’t eat himself this type of food, and instead add more chilli and spices when cooking for himself.
Nevertheless, I thought that this was the best Briyani that I ever had in Rome. It was so yummy!
Claire had a plate of Prawn Briyani which I could see that she enjoyed eating.
Later in the week, a couple of days before the fasting month, I dragged Cart to give this restaurant a try too. As a vegetarian, there were a couple of items that he could choose. And he ordered Vegetable Curry.
I wish that it didn’t taste so bland. If the dish was spicer, it would have tasted much more satisfying.
Cart also had a plate of Daal, which he ate with Naan bread. Lentils are not my favourite thing to eat, nevertheless, this tastes pretty good, because the dish was not originally hot anyway.
And this time round I thought that I’d try their Tandoori chicken. Tandoor is a method of cooking in a deep wood or charcoal oven and food cooked in it tends to have the most amazing smoky, rustic taste. But while I’d normally love this dish, the chicken that I had was dry for me. What a shame.
The roasted potatoes in rosemary were nice enough though.
With my set meal, I also got a plate of salad which was unremarkable, nevertheless, the red sauce that I had with my salad, I liked very much. It tasted sweet and sourish of lime but at the same time was spicy hot.
I’m not sure if it really goes with the salad, but I ate it as a dipping sauce with the chicken. Next time I’ll just ask them to hold the mayonaise and just give me pure red sauce
Despite some of the misses in this restaurant, I am quite enamoured with this place and I’m looking forward to going there again the next time I have a craving for Indian food.
Sidenote : I haven’t been to that many Indian restaurants in Rome but to me, the taste really hits close to the ones that I had in Little India in Singapore and I dare say that it’s the best that I had in Rome.
Halal Indian Restaurant
Via Daniele Manin 2b, Rome Italy