Two Bells for Bangles Indian Cuisine

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Criag LaBan heads to Bangles Indian Cuisine in Philadelphia’s suburban “Dosa Belt.” LaBan finds that chef Dhirendran “Dhiru” Paulraj has a deft touch with Southern Indian cooking.

Paulraj’s takes on traditional flavors, especially his dosas, are what really generate this menu’s resonance. I agree with my completely obsessed pal Jeff that the rava dosa is hauntingly good, its semolina-rice batter scented with curry leaves and ginger and griddled into a lacy crisp around roasty threads of toasty onions.

A more familiar dosa, rolled into an oversize crepe around curry-spiced masala potatoes, is unusual because its cuminy batter is tinted green with cilantro, chilies, and ginger. The spongier crepe for the paneer and peas variation is wrapped snug like a burrito around a garam masala-onion-spiced stuffing of grated fresh cheese.

Two Bells – Very Good

Bangles in Downingtown, melding South Indian flavors, American twists [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Bangles Indian Cuisine [Official]

Indian Restaurants and Food in Philadelphia

Chef/owner Rakesh Ramola at Indeblue | Photo by Neal Santos

Chef/owner Rakesh Ramola at Indeblue | Photo by Neal Santos

Indian food has been a part of Philadelphia’s culinary landscape for a long time — so long that there’s no specific neighborhood devoted to it, but rather a spray of outposts scattered around: biryani on Ridge Pike in Eagleville, goat curry in Northeast Philly, Punjabi cuisine in Chester County, dosa just over the bridge in Cherry Hill. The Indian canon is broad and fractious in its variety of regional specialties, so here’s a must-hit list for those looking to expand their tastes beyond tandoori chicken.

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Identity Crisis on Walnut Street

Photo via Philadelphia Real Estate Blog

Photo via Philadelphia Real Estate Blog

Samosa’s Indian Vegetarian had a good long run at 1214 Walnut Street. But after it closed, things have gotten weird. Early this fall, Dream Island Grill opened in its place. The new concept specialized in Caribbean food. Oddly, the lunch menu was Mexican. But then on December 13th, a reader told us that Dream Island was gone and it has been replace by Buena Vida, a pricier Mexican restaurant. Then by Monday, a banner noted that “We Are Back, Indian Cuisine.” And today, The Philadelphia Real Estate Blog spots a Saffron Indian Cuisine sign. A sign which looks similar to the Saffron Indian Cuisine on North Broad. Of course that Saffron has at least two web sites.

So to recap, that restaurant at Camac and Walnut is back selling Indian food. But what will tomorrow bring?

Walnut Street eatery continues search for identity [Philadelphia Real Estate Blog]

Where We’re Eating: Tiffin Bistro

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If Munish Narula’s Indian food empire has left you feeling like Goldilocks in the popular fairy tale, Tiffin Bistro might be just right. A step down in glitz from Tashan and more than a step up in style from the less formal Tiffin, Tiffin Bistro provides approachable Indian food in a white-tablecloth space. Highlights include the pepper crab, a promising rendition of chicken tikka Masala, the kitschy Indian Sloppy Joe (which is much better than the gimmick it suggests) and the chicken tellicherry pepper—chunks of boneless chicken with a sauce that heats up with each bite. Overall, Tiffin Bistro will satisfy your Indian craving, especially for South Philadelphians who remain just outside the original Tiffin’s delivery range.

Tiffin Bistro
1100 Federal Street
215-468-0104

First appeared in the September, 2013 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

Unorthodox Indian at Indeblue

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Trey Popp visits Indeblue’s Midtown Village location and finds that chef Rakesh Ramola is willing to go far afield in order to appeal to Philadelphia diners.

His cooking is most interesting, though, when it features just enough of a twist to cast something familiar in a fresh light. Exquisitely tender lamb chops, thrumming with mace and nutmeg, come with a white wine/rice wine vinegar “mojito” sauce that provides a pleasantly harmonious top note. Long hots stuffed with house-made paneer and a touch of mozzarella, spiked with extra chili powder and sauced with tomatoes, seemed both credibly Indian and classically Philadelphian at the same time. Squash stuffed with paneer, cashews, pistachios and raisins was also a winner.

Two and a half stars – Good to Excellent

Philadelphia Restaurant Review: Unorthodox Indian Food at Indeblue [Philadelphia Magazine]
Indeblue [Official Site]

Photo by Jason Varney

Tiffin Bistro Sets Opening Date

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Tiffin Bistro is set to open on Sunday, June 2 for dinner (ribbon cutting is set for Friday, May 31) at 11th and Federal. The newest restaurant in Munish Narula‘s growing Indian food empire that already boasts the upscale Tashan and half a dozen delivery-focussed Tiffin shps, Tiffin Bistro will have a more upscale feel than Tiffin without  the big night out feel of Tashan. We’re betting Tiffin Bistro becomes a neighborhood hotspot for in no time.

Check out a Foobooz post from early April with more details on the soon-to-be-opened restaurant. 

IndeBlue on 13th Street Sets an Opening Date

The long anticipated Midtown Village outpost of IndeBlue, the popular Indian BYOB in Collingswood now has an opening date. A sign in the window promises a June 1st opening.

unlike the New Jersey location in dry Collingswood, the Center City location of IndeBlue will have a full bar, It’s also a sizeably larger operation, as IndeBlue’s L-shaped building wraps around neighboring Bridals by Danielle.

indeBlue [Official Site]

Spice End, Kati Roll Spot Coming to 20th and Chestnut

Indian Chestnut

Spice End is about a week away from opening at 2004 Chestnut Street. The successor of Jojo Place will serve Indian food, specializing in kati rolls. As you can see from the photo above, they will also  offer delivery (and a clean restaurant).

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