It was Monday afternoon and I was slouching off on the comfy sofa somewhere inside a café above a bookstore at Kemang, chatting with my friend while browsing the net with the free wifi. Down at the street, through the wide window, we saw cars passing by. The sun is setting, the lights inside the café were being switched on and the candles were being lit.
Dinnertime was approaching, and my stomach was beginning to act funny.
We decided to leave the place to get dinner elsewhere. My friend suggested going to Kinara for dinner, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s been quite a while since I ate (proper) Indian food – last time was at Eastern Promise on the New Year. And I’ve always been tempted to try Kinara since long ago, but kept postponing it, simply because none of my friends are into Indian food. So it was just right – I finally found a new partner to venture out (on dining).
Kinara has been around for quite a while and was voted as ‘The Best Indian Restaurant’ a couple of times by Jakarta Java Kini magazine. Plus, I’ve been reading good reviews in various medias and saw pictures of its exquisitely designed interiors. That was enough to seduce me to go there. Like I’ve mentioned (so many times), I’ve a weakness for beauty –in any form or shape.
The restaurant was designed to resemble a Maharaja’s palace. With the gate (which was said to be a 400 years old gate from Rajashtan), the pillars, the ancient artifacts. The ceilings were decorated with mural paintings, the plaster walls painted brownish-orange. Add in the wooden floor and the small fountain.. Just nice. The lightning was dim and warm (a great spot for that romantic date, guys). I especially love the glass ceiling in the middle, with the view of the sky – if only we could see stars, then it would be perfect. The ambiance music was great – Indian (or Arabic?) chill out tunes –it build up just the right mood.
Service was great. We were assisted along the way. They were helpful, recommending some favorite dishes to us, and very informative as they have good product knowledge. We were given two sets of menu –one was the standard menu (listing the food from appetizer to dessert), and the other was the additional special menu (one page only). I decided to order a fish curry dish from the special menu –snapper fillets cooked with tamarind paste, and my friend ordered the lamb curry dish from the standard menu (sorry, I forgot to write down all the names of the dishes). We opted for the vegetable rice (Bazabata) and added cheese naan to accompany the curries. For drinks, I went for white wine because I was eating white meat, and my friend went for red wine because he was eating red meat. Following the rule for wine/meal combination. =P
Before the meal, we were given a basket of warm Papadums (very thin flat dough, baked until crispy –I call it the Indian kerupuk or nachos). They were served a bowl of with mint sauce and mango chutney sauce. I loveee papadums. They were very crispy and light.
The food arrived in small brass pots, which were very cute. The lamb curry was thick, creamy, and fragrant, but not spicy. The lamb meat was very tender and soft, and there was no trace of that distinctive (lamb) smell. Just nice. The fish curry was not as creamy as the lamb curry, and not spicy too. It has that distinctive sweet sour taste of tamarind, and the fish was fresh and tender. Again, just nice. The rice was my favorite. Long grained (Basmati?) rice cooked with spices and vegetables. The rice was cooked just right for me, not too soft but slightly over half-cooked so you could still feel the texture. Yummy. The cheese naan was OK – nothing special –and we were already too full after the rice and curries so we couldn’t finish it. And no dessert, we were about to explode.
Overall, I had a great dining experience. The food, the service, the ambiance, and well, of course, the company.
Would love to check out the lounge (Fez Lounge) next time and try the cocktails. And I’ve checked out the website and saw the rooftop terrace (Chand Garden) –looks fabulous!
Cuisines of India
Jl. Kemang Raya 78B
+62 21 7192677
Lunch : noon – 2.30 p.m.
Dinner : 6.30 – 10.30 p.m.
Friday & Saturday : 6.30 – 11.00 p.m.
Picture courtesy of Kinara. I actually took pictures of the food but I don't know why I can't open it again via Multiply even though I originally posted it there, and the original files have been deleted. Bohoo.
* Originally posted in Multiply, June 16, 2007