Veg-Out Delhi

2008.Aug.14 Thursday · 6 comments

in Restaurants

 My new pig out food is Indian food. I eat Indian food like three times a week. It’s so good.”

– Jennifer Love Hewitt, actress/singer

Buenos Aires – A few weeks back I’d been wandering around Las Cañitas looking at one thing or another, and I noticed a new restaurant done up with some sort of Taj Mahal-ish facade. I stopped for a glance and discovered it’s a new Indian vegetarian restaurant. On to the list it went for checking out soon, and this week I got back there for what turned out to be a completely delightful lunch. With our western Indian dinner coming up this weekend (and filled up, we may even open an extra day), it seemed a good moment for inspiration. Opened just four months ago, Namaskar, at Benjamin Matienzo 1616, 4772-0276, is turning out delicious north Indian vegetarian fare with a flare. Beyond just the comfortable, casual dining room, attended by the owner of the restaurant, I was won over completely when as I placed my order the first thing he asked was did I want the food spiced for local palates, medium, or Indian hot. I chose the latter, of course. [Unfortunately, this place didn’t even make it to its first birthday, a true shame as, for my tastes, it was the most authentic Indian spot in town.]

Namaskar - pakoras and paratha

Now, I’ve had hotter, but they did themselves proud, and I even broke a sweat on the main course. I was thinking about ordering one or a selection of their breads – they offer up a trio of different types on the menu, but the owner suggested that since I was solo it might be a bit much, and he’d just add an extra paratha to the basket that’s served after you order. Excellent paratha I might add, and served up with a trio of dipping sauces – not the NYC standards of tamarind, tomato onion, and mint – but a spiced potato puree, carrot, and a sweet-spicy tomato dip. Then I dug into a trio of wonderfully light and flavorful vegetable pakoras – each basically a floret of broccoli surrounded by a paste of other vegetables and then deep fried. While admittedly deep frying anything makes it taste great, I wasn’t complaining.

Namaskar - aloo gobi

I could smell the chilies and onion on this one as he set the steaming bowl down in front of me. Aloo gobi is a favorite dish – I love cauliflower, I love potatoes, I love spice – what’s not to like here? I dipped in and was instantly happy – a blend of spices, both hot and savory – really well balanced. Perhaps a minor complaint that I found the vegetables a little overcooked – texturally the dish was pretty close to mush, but that aside, I’m already trying out recipes here at home – sometimes it takes a reminder to pull out the offbeat cookbooks at home.

Namaskar - laddu

I decided to take his recommendation for his favorite dessert, laddu, which are sort of caramelized toasted chickpea balls – and his “exquisite” was pretty much dead-on. One thing I think is a shame – three of the four desserts on the menu are served as a trio of balls – just with different ingredients – why not offer up a “sampler” of one of each. They do have a dessert sampler platter, but it’s all four desserts and only comes in a portion for two people. Regardless, I was completely happy with what I had, and a complimentary cup of chai on the side hit the spot.

Namaskar isn’t cheap – this three course lunch, including a bottle of water and large glass of mildly sweet lassi, a favorite yogurt drink (and a perfect foil for spicy dishes), came out to 76 pesos. On the other hand, they serve up easily the best Indian vegetable dishes I’ve had since coming to Buenos Aires.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Nestor Gomez Saravia August 24, 2008 at 18:05

Thanx for your comment.
Best Regards from Buenos Aires – Argentina
Nestor
Namaskar Indian Vegetarian Cuisine

dan August 24, 2008 at 23:21

Nestor – you’re welcome – I’ll be back! I hope some of my readers come and check your place out, it’s definitely worth doing so!

Juan Ramani September 1, 2008 at 12:26

Estuve en Namaskar el fin de semana. 100% recomendable. Atenciòn cordial

Vasundhar December 8, 2008 at 14:14

How to go there from Puerto Modero ? and how far is it
Thank you,
V

dan December 8, 2008 at 14:52

From Puerto Madero, depending on where you are in the port, it’ll be about a 15-20 minute taxi ride, and likewise cost somewhere between 15-20 pesos. Unfortunately, there’s not much of another good way to get there – you could take a bus, but the east part of PM, which is where I’m guessing you’re staying, is only serviced by the #2 bus, which doesn’t go anywhere near Las Cañitas and the only reasonable choice would be the 64 bus, which would still require a several block walk at each end. Keep in mind if you’re in PM Este that you’re more or less in an enclave on the other side of the canal from the city, and taxis, other than if they happen to be dropping someone off at the hotel, are not to be found cruising the streets – your best bet is having the hotel call a cab for you about 10-15 minutes before you’re going to need it.

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