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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Curry House

When reviewing Indian restaurants in Prague, you always have to make allowances for the fact that it's never going to be this:

Yep, this is my local - the Sultan Balti Palace on Wokingham's main town square. You have one, I have one, and chances are it's not in Prague. Many a happy meal of vegetable shashlik, chicken tikka masala and oversized balti naan were consumed at the Sultan in the ten years before I moved to Prague, and it's still top of the list of places to visit on the one or two occasions I brave the UK to catch up with friends and family each year.

Back in the Czech Republic for the other 360 odd days of the year though, where best to scratch the curry itch? Like most expat Brits, in my four years here I've searched in vain for true curry nirvana in Prague, and despite having come tantalisingly close on certain occasions, until recently had never yet quite managed to achieve that state of perfect bliss I have so effortlessly reached on countless occasions before back at the Sultan.

I'd been to been to Masala (started off good, but seemed to go off the boil lately), Tikka Dhaba (just plain weird, inauthentic food, possibly stoned waiter), Beas, Balarama and Govinda (all more canteen than restaurant though and usually only open when I’m at work), Tandoor (overrated), Chanchala (great dhosas and chai, but located in a shopping mall), Himalaya (good put pricey), the Indian Jewel (yet more costly), Khajuraho (just plain silly expensive), Haveli (good but out of the way), Mailsi (meh), Manni Pakistani (absolute crap), Rasoi (shut down a couple of years back amid allegations of tax evasion, as I recall), and last but not least Rana (my hitherto pleasantly down-and-dingy favourite). I’m still looking forward to trying out the new restaurant that has recently opened in Vinohrady, Dilli Delhi.

Personally speaking though, true nirvana was for me at long last achieved on the opening of the Curry House in Palmovka last year. God, I love this place. Undoubtedly part of it is proximity (I live just across the bridge in Holešovice), meaning that at last I have a “local” in the geographical sense of the word, but more than that it is the seriously tasty food, extensive menu, and – most importantly – the fact that they are not afraid to actually use spice (seemingly a dirty word in some Indian eateries here) that have so unreservedly won me over.

I’ve actually only ever eaten in the restaurant itself the once with the girls (pre-blog), all fellow Brits who unanimously declared their curry itch to have been well and truly scratched. Its interior is quite plain and possibly a bit too brightly lit for my taste (photos are available on the website), but the service was impeccable and a good time had by all. However, Mr K and I have had take-out from here on at least a dozen occasions, experimenting from time to time with the menu, but more often than not trying but failing to deviate from our standard curry formula (as illustrated below).

Pictured here is yesterday’s dinner of saag aloo, chicken jalfrezie, lamb rezela (one of the restaurants specialties - a Bangladeshi medium hot curry of fried onion, garlic-ginger paste, and yogurt) and aloo paratha (a.k.a. potato pancake - my preferred alternative to naan bread, especially when ordering takeaway, as it tends not to lose its freshness so easily).

Mr K likes his curry vindaloo / near phall hot and I too am definitely not averse to a dose of pretty strong spice, but wow did we certainly get it with this – even Mr K had to declare that this was nearing as much as he could take. Needless to say, between us we happily polished off the lot.

Pricewise Curry House is generally pretty reasonable, especially when compared to some of the pricier places such as Mailsi or Khajuraho. As a special, the rezela was slightly more expensive at 225kč, the jalfrezie 185kč and the saag aloo 145kč, with the sundries priced at 65kč for the aloo paratha and 50kč for the rice (not forgetting the 5kč per takeaway box).

Of course (discounting that whole long, convoluted 'Do Czechs Hate Foreigners' debate) few things are as divisive among Brits in Prague as the subject of what qualifies as “proper” Indian food or not, and naturally everyone will pick and choose their personal favourite dishes / combination etc in their own personal path to curry nirvana. I for one certainly wouldn’t want to set myself up as any kind of authority on all things curry here, and this article is of course written from an entirely subjective viewpoint. That said, after four long years of searching I’ve at long long last officially found my new “local” in Prague, and just thought I’d at least spread the word for all those out there still on their personal quest… ;-))


  1. I love this place..

    Went last night and had the Jalfrezi as well. It was hotter than many vindaloos i've had in the past. The poppadums weren't great, maybe that was a one off as before they were great. Bombay aloo very spicy, the naans very nice...

    Living in Holesovice as well I have to say it's great that it's so near.

    I haven't tried the Indian Jewel yet. I have friends that say the food is better than the curry house. Mind you the prices look much scarier too.

    I can't recommend this place enough.

  2. I meant to add.

    As the reviewer said, you don't actually have to ask for it to be "Indian style" or "spicy version".

    It's juste perfect the way it is served :)

  3. I went there for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Ordered samosas and bhajis for starters - and was SO disappointed, especially as the ones at Masala are excellent. So after that let down we were pretty nervous about the main courses.....but luckily all mains, rice, breads were very good. I still prefer Masala though.

  4. Hi Laurita, must admit to not having had either the samosas or the bhajis at Curry House, but sorry to hear they were disappointing. I used to really love Masala when it first opened, but the last few times I've been there the service has been off, the portions diminutive, and the quality definitely not as good as it used to be... Clearly we need to combine Masala starters and Curry House mains for optimum curry experience...

  5. I've been to many of the Indian restaurants you name, plus Taj Mahal. I always search for a perfect vindaloo. Wanted to go to Kharujaho, but since you say it's expensive, I won't. Thanx for saving me a disappointment;-)
    I've heard so much about Curry House that now I really HAVE to go there. Even though it's more than an hour journey for me.
    Thanx again for a good and usefull review :-)

  6. We were neighbors! I lived in Prague 8 near Palmovka this last time and enjoyed the Curry House myself.