Getting to this place was a right pain in the ass. It took us a grueling 20-minute search to locate the road the restaurant was on. By the time we got here, we knew it’d take a pretty special experience to lift our spirits. And incredibly, that’s what we got. The Taj of India isn’t fancy-schmancy; in fact, with 10 tables set up indoors and two alfresco, it’s a pretty small establishment, furnished with lavishly printed tablecloths, garish flowers and weirdly enough, balloons. It took about 10 minutes for our first order to arrive, but in the meantime, we were treated to complimentary pappadum served with a pleasantly tangy mint sauce. Our murg makhani ($10), tandoor-roasted chicken in butter gravy, was tasty but a little too rich for our tastes. Our advice: Order this to share. We also made sure to order methi aloo gobhi masala ($6), a mishmash of potatoes and cauliflower cooked with fenugreek. It was delicious, if a tad salty, and went well with steamed basmati rice ($3.50). If you’re a fan of Indian breads, you have to try their fluffy butter naan ($1.50), but for something less sinful, go for their home-ground wheat phulkas ($1.50 for two). Don’t pass on the lucknowi bhuna gosht ($10.90), a real winner. Their red lamb stew was moderately spicy, flavorsome and mouth-achingly tender. They’ve got the age-old festive sweet gulab jamun ($4) here too, deep-fried reduced milk dumplings soaked in sugar syrup—yum. Sure, the food’s pretty good, but it was the fantastic service that really did it for us. Our server was attentive and genuinely helpful, even considering that Taj of India doesn’t charge for service. We’re definitely coming back, but next time, we’re driving.
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The arty northern capital of Thailand has a new hotel, a restaurant and a cafe.