I often have sensual cravings.
By now, my trip to India three years ago felt like a yonder memory. Frequently struck by far-flung memories of its rich heritage, exotic charms, and colorful spices, my gut is getting desperate for some ghee.
It doesn’t get any better when Indian restaurants are rare in town. Even if we found one, it’s hard to get around Jakarta on these rainy days without researching alternative roads to avoid still-flooded locations.
So we lingered around North Jakarta and opted for locations to which we know roads would be clear.
Thanks to Stanley’s excellent memory, he recalled a place he’s recently been to, a treasure-trove where I finally quenched my ghee cravings – the Queen’s of India at Sunter.
“I knew you’d love it,” he said. He smiled his usual smile after doing his study of my face everytime I taste my dozens of first bites.
Since its original delicacies first launched in 1986, franchisers Mr and Mrs Shamdasani have been offering would-be entrepreneurs the opportunity to model Seminyak’s thriving Queen’s Tandoor outlet in sparse locations throughout Asia, from the eclectic gourmand’s paradise at Robertson Quay in Singapore all the way to the eastmost borders of the continent in Saudi Arabia.
Sumptuous dishes and excellent service, two non-negotiable commitments of any successful restaurant business, earned the Queen’s franchise multiple nationwide awards, including a spot on Indonesian Tatler’s annual feature of Indonesia’s Best Restaurants.
Famed for its ochres and other muted hues befitting traditional Indian interiors, curry cravers like me feel welcomed to the soothing ambiance as if truly dining against the backdrop of India.
Catering to both vegetarian and non-vegetarian diners alike, I invite you to indulge your senses with the richest, truest taste of Indian cuisine around town.
Complimentary side dish: These salty crackers are great companions to our buttery main courses. Each of these three dipping condiments provides a unique taste of their own. On the far left is a classic Chinese sauce made with vinegared carrots, pickles, and onions. In the middle bowl seats a thick slew of sweet mango and chili flavors, which didn’t go well in my tongue with the saltiness from the crackers. My personal favorite is the leftmost bowl – a peppered spinach dip. It made the plain old saltcrackers a gusto-boosting fare as you soak up the briny blends of both flavors.
Chicken Tikka Makhanwala: Drench yourself in this warm, blood-red pool of exotic soup. Submerged in the viscosity, the North Indian delicacy flaunts juicy-tender bits of barbecued chicken. Enriched with tomatoes and cream and lavishly dressed in a variety of Oriental spices, the rich butter sauce flavors are certainly not for the faint of belly. Every spoonful of this dish stirs the most unmitigated emotions of my gut!
Lasooni Palak Paneer: What better way to enjoy spinach than to inject heaps of garlic to it? If it wasn’t for Popeye, anyone who fared on this bed of muddy greens can have the wits, gallant, and strength of the spinach-driven character – since most of the leafy green’s vitamins are fat-soluble and that the palak paneer is beefed with butterfats. This classic palate is the epitome of delicious bitterness, which sounds contradicting ’til you taste the lush for yourself. Raw, biting, and touched with astringent dairy from the cottage cheese chunks tucked underneath, carnivores can find it difficult to say no to these greens.
Queen’s of India: Indian & Chinese Cuisine
Handi Biryani: We picked fish as our masala, which now I learn is a poor choice for any biryani dishes. It must have tasted juicier and more fragrant with chicken, or mutton. Essentially, we lost the centerpiece that binds the vibrant scents of this dish into whole. Fish consistency leans toward tender-flimsy instead of the tender-flabby we want to be absorbed with rich aromas of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. So the thin layers of fish fibers did not carry the balms of basmati into digestion, but left the fragrance feel scattered instead. Otherwise, this scent-laden selection is your best bet to nourish all senses of the soul. Pour over your spoonfuls with the tikka makhanwala sauce or the palak paneer sauce for some serious flavor enhancements.
Sunlake Hotel, 1st Floor
Jl. Danau Permai Raya Blok C 1
Jakarta Utara 14350
(021) 650 9969, 6583 1477