I’ve always wanted to try good Indian food in Manila. Though I’ve done so in one of those hole-in-th-wall eateries along U.N. Avenue (beside those rows of Indian groceries), I’ve been on the look-out for a fine dining establishment representative of the continent. Admittedly, there are gazillions of Chinese, Japanese and (ulk!) Korean restos in the city and only a few Indian. So imagine my relief when I got invited “on coverage” to a cocktail party at Queens in Jupiter St. Makati City.
The complete name is Queens Crystal Garden Restaurant, and the super-amiable owner Ram Hathiramani told moi they just put the phrase “Crystal Garden” to attract the Chinese, haha. But really, my impression is that Queens is one great place to go to if you have guests from Indian, Pakistan or anywhere else craving for some savory curry or tandoori. I browsed through the Queens menu and it’s quite extensive – some 250 dishes of which 80 are vegetarian. An even better news for anti-carnivores is that this place serves no pork or beef – beef because cows are sacred to Indians and pork because the foreign chefs in the resto are Moslems and they don’t eat baboy.
Aside from Indian, Queens whips up Indonesian dishes and those that are best termed ‘Asian Fusion.’ At the party, I happily munched on the chicken tikka, samosa, satay and the roomali roti etc. – all the while relieved that am turning vegetarian (budgetarian) for the night. 😛 A new discovery were the roster of Indian desserts such as the beda (milk cake), coconut balls and kaju roll which was similar to the Filipino ‘yema.’ I looked at the Indian ladies garbed in their colorful native wear and agreed that they were indeed slim for overloading only on tofu and lentils.
For food lovers, the house recommends the following familiar favorites: Papadum Masala (fried delicate thin crispy bread with special spices), Mutton Vindaloo (pieces of lamb marinated with vinegar and a blend of spices and cooked in a tangy piquant sauce), Paneer Makhanwala (Cottage cheese cooked in tomato, butter, cream & chili sauce), Prawn Biryani (Aromatic rice cooked fresh with your choice and garnished with fresh herbs), Mie Malay (Malaysian style noodles), and Nasi Goreng Crab (Indonesian crab fried rice), among others.
The roster of desserts also look tempting: Sizzling Brownie Sundae, Oreo Cappucino (cold coffee shake blended with Oreo cookies and served with ice cream), Kulfi (Indian ice cream) and of course the Lassi (blended flavored yoghurt).
I promise to be back next time!
Queens is located at 146-C Jupiter Street, Makati City. Opening hours from: 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm. Telephone numbers: 8951316 and 8951816.