Where We’re Eating: Tiffin Bistro

tiffin-bistro-sloppy-joe

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.

UPDATED: Sylva Senat On “Unofficial Vacation” From Tashan

SylvaSenat

The rumors have been circulating for a few days, but now we know for sure. Sylva Senat is no longer the chef at Tashan. Or Tiffin, Tiffin Bistro or any other of owner Munish Narula‘s properties.

I chatted briefly with Senat this afternoon, and while he didn’t have much to add (other than a confirmation that he is, in fact, no longer chef at Tashan), he did say that he was now a “free agent” (meaning that he doesn’t have another gig lined up yet), that his tenure in the kitchen at Tashan was “cut short” (meaning that he didn’t walk out on his own, but was asked to leave), and that he thinks the reason he was let go was because he “care[d] too much” (though, honestly, I’m not entirely sure what that means).

“It’s still a surreal moment,” Senat told me. “Articles are still coming out with my name on [them] for Tiffin Bistro, Groupon, et cetera.”

Narula hasn’t returned calls for comment on the loss of the chef that opened Tashan to critical acclaim. But needless to say, if there’s anyone out there looking to open a modern Indian restaurant (or, really, any other kind of restaurant) and is in the market for a blooded, veteran, award-winning chef, Senat would probably be happy to take your call.

UPDATE: According to the Insider, Kirti Pant, the chef brought in by Narula to run his new Tiffin Bistro, is now the chef at Tashan.

Tashan Review [Philly mag]

Kris Restaurant Has Closed, Paper Up in the Windows at Village Belle

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Kris Restaurant has closed, hand is now becoming part of the Munish Narula empire. The restaurant’s Facebook page says that all gift certificates will be honored at owner Kristian Leuzzi’s, Stogie Joe’s on East Passyunk.

Also in South Philadelphia, paper is up in the windows at Queen Village’s Village Belle and no online reservations are available before Friday, April 5th.

Lou Campanaro, chef/owner of the Village Belle tells us it’s some spring cleaning that will include a new look for the bar and prep work for the outdoor cafe.

Campanaro also tells us the menu is being reformatted to focus on small plates with small prices. The wine and cocktail lists are also being revamped and four new taps are being added.

Village Belle is aiming to reopen this Thursday or Friday and will have Allagash White, Victory Swing Sesion Saison, Goose Island IPA and Flying Fish Farmhouse Ale on tap.

Village Belle [Official Site]

Munish Narula Opening an Indian Bistro in South Philadelphia

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Munish Narula (left) is back on the expansion path | HughE Dillon for the Philly Post

After a series of profitable quarters for Tashan, Munish Narula is getting back to opening restaurants. His next restaurant will not be a Tiffin or a Tashan, but rather a Tiffin Bistro, slated for 11th and Federal at the former Kris. Narula declined to reveal the exact location until the lease was signed but did fill us in on several other details.

The Indian bistro will have a liquor license and a more upscale feel from a regular Tiffin, but not as high-end as Tashan. Narula stressed this would be a whole new concept as he doesn’t want to cannibalize Tiffin’s delivery business or the experience at Tashan. Expect a more traditional Indian menu but not the dishes you see on most Indian restaurant menus around town. Narula is bringing in a chef from Junoon in New York who has also worked at Amber India in San Francisco as well as London’s Cinnamon Club. Tashan’s Sylva Senat will be involved as well in fine tuning the menu and plating.

Narula hopes to sign the lease before the end of the week and open six weeks after that. As Kris, the restaurant had room for fifty people, plus ten at the bar.

Tashan Does Delivery: Not Your Average Indian Take-Out

“What we are doing at Tashan will be more like elegant Dinner At Home experience. Everything about the service will have get a special touch of style, including the packaging and serving containers, napkins, and even utensils.”

So says Munish Narula, owner of Tashan, in discussing the brand new carry-out / delivery service the restaurant will be rolling out starting this Thursday. The kitchen will be offering the entire menu to-go (including all of the new dishes recently added by chef Sylva Senat), which means that you can now sit around on your couch in your underpants eating gol-gappa, tandoori lamb chops, baby octopus in red pepper sauce and screw-pine scented palak tikki in a saffron-morel mushroom cream sauce–which is just classy.

Right now, the delivery area includes Center City, Rittenhouse Square, Graduate Hospital, Bella Vista, Washington Square West, Queen Village and University City. And while that’s already a pretty sizable region to cover, Narula is saying it will probably get even bigger as the new service hits its stride.

Tashan Review [Philly mag]

Tashan [Official website]

Tiffin Etc. Returns and Indo-Chinese Concepts Coming

Tiffin founder Munish Narula recently closed Tiffin, Etc. next to the original Tiffin on Girard Avenue. But he heard so much from disappointed diners that he is reopening the roti rolls and Indian pizza spot today.

When Narula closed Tiffin Etc. at 710 Girard Avenue he planned to open an Indo-Chinese concept (Chinese cuisine heavily influenced by Indian flavors, spices and techniques) there. Now the plans are to add the Indo-Chinese menu items to the Girard Arvenue Tiffin Etc and to expand the Tiffin Etc. brand into West Philadelphia. He also is looking for a second Indo-Chinese location, possibly in South Philadelphia.

In the meantime, Kati rolls are back on Girard Avenue.

Tiffin [Official Site]

Tashan: The Best Restaurant You’re Not Going To

Second Chance

Philadelphia is now home to one of the best Indian restaurants in the country. So why aren’t you eating there?

Once upon a time in Philly, there was a small and slightly troubled high-end Indian restaurant called Bindi, owned and operated by Valerie Safran and Marcie Turney, the Lords of 13th Street. It wasn’t a perfect restaurant. It was a BYO operating in a highly competitive environment. It was cash-only.

But the thing that really killed it was that it was a high-end Indian restaurant in a town that just doesn’t get high-end ethnic cuisines. “After a while, you get tired of hearing people say, ‘We don’t eat Indian food,’” Safran said in an interview shortly after it was announced that Bindi would close in September of 2011. She blamed Philadelphians for being unwilling to take a chance on something different. At the time, I didn’t completely buy her argument. Now, I’m not so sure.

Read more »

It’s Magic at Tashan

Craig LaBan delivers an enthusiastic three-bell review to Munish Narula’s Tashan.

[J]ust as Susanna Foo did with Chinese cuisine, Narula’s project has the potential to be a game-changer and show how exciting the Indian sensibility can be when the best ingredients and sophisticated chefs are at play. Clove and garlic-marinated venison is scented with smoke over the charcoal sigri grill and served with a boozy chutney made from rum and plums. Tender slices of pork tenderloin come tingling with a 21-spice Xacutti marinade sparked with dried peppers, coriander, and cardamom. Moist curried king crab is blended with chile paste, ginger and cilantro and topped with crackery rice puffs. Seared duck breast marinated in house yogurt with mace and green chiles is roasted tikka-style in place of the usual chicken alongside silky spinach saag paneer.

Three Bells – Excellent

Tashan [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Tashan [Official Site]

Tashan: Tale of the Tape

Last night marked the grand opening of Tashan, the high end Indian concept from Tiffin founder Munish Narula. The restaurant is the cornerstone of Carl Dranoff’s 777 S Broad complex and lives up to its name which means style or attitude.

Read more »

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