Flavor Profiles

[nggallery id=34 images=1]Exploring Northern Indian cuisine at India House.

Fans of global cuisine know that the Baymeadows area is home to a handful of traditional Indian restaurants. Among those, newcomer India House—which opened in August—stands ready to continue its neighborhood's reputation.
The large dining room at India House is bordered by a wall of windows, framed by brocaded drapes and silk plants. Lighting is commercial grade, but candles on each table help create a more intimate feel. Several oblong and square tables fill the center of the room, so grab a booth along the perimeter for a private dining experience.
Regional differences in the preparation of Indian cuisine are clear on the menu, as several of the options reflect a Northern Indian influence. Traditionally, Northern Indian cuisine incorporates less spice and more yogurt and cream than Southern Indian fare. A strong representation of meat-based dishes, especially lamb, further separates this cooking style from its Southern counterpart, which caters heavily to vegetarians. Orders can be prepared hot, extra hot, mild and extra mild.
My dining companion and I stopped by India House on a recent weekday evening for dinner. Immediately after being led to a table, our server presented a pre-appetizer of lentil papadam chips with three small bowls of onion, tamarind and mint and cilantro sauces.
We started the meal with a shrimp poori appetizer. Savory garlic, mustard seed and curry leaves flavored each large piece of shrimp, and the deep-fried puffed bread that encased the shrimp was crispy, light and transparent. Order a basket of garlic coriander naan, baked with a generous helping of freshly ground garlic and cilantro, to sop up leftover sauce from the poori.
Shortly after we finished the shrimp, a sizzling platter arrived with my entrée, the lamb bihari kebab. Large chunks of lamb were marinated with ginger, garlic and papaya, served with onions, basmati rice, a sauce of puréed tomatoes, onions and spices, and a lemon wedge. Our server instructed me to squeeze the lemon juice over the entire platter. The onions were cooked perfectly, providing a pleasant crunch and a spicy, sweet flavor. The lamb was a tad dry, but still tasty and filling—one portion could easily feed two people.
My companion chose baigan bhartha, a classic Indian dish made with eggplant, green peas, onion, tomatoes and ginger. The flavor was smooth and strong, and the consistency similar to a heavy sauce or paste that pairs well with basmati rice for a satisfying vegetarian dinner.
Save room for an order of kheer for dessert. The sweet Indian staple is reminiscent of rice pudding, with milk, basmati rice and dried fruit flavored with cardamom and raisins.

India House
8661 Baymeadows Rd.