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By Steven Li on 2007-05-30

May 30, 2007


The other day I got so mad when my dad said, “Indian food is all curry, curry, and naan.” Doesn’t that make you angry? I agree, a lot of their flavors are based off curry, but there is much more to Indian breads than naan! Grrr. So on Sunday morning I demanded that he, mom and I head to India Café on Kapahulu for lunch. Hawaii has a shortage of Indian restaurant, but we do with what we have, and India Café does the best job of the few places along the King St/Kapahulu Ave area.

Lunches are served plate-lunch style…I love how Hawaii can take any cuisine and turn it into a plate-lunch kine meal! We decided to order three different dishes and share them all. Mom’s roti pratha plate was my favorite, two fair sized rounds, pan fried in a healthy dose of ghee till the exterior turned wonderfully browned and crispy. A bite or tear revealed the many soft layers of the bread, a perfect vehicle for the tofu sambal, curried cauliflower and a serving of spicy eggplant.

The dosa plate ($7.50) was perfect for my dad, who took a great liking to the tangy flavor and spongy texture of the fermented bread. The dosa was definitely less heavy on the heart in terms of ghee content than the paratha, but man, was the paratha good! Two large dosai proved to be just the right amount for the dish of lamb masala.

Our third dish was a tofu masala dosa, advertised on the menu as “SPICY!!!” But it wasn’t that spicy at all, so do not fear, go ahead and order it! I’ve never had tofu in a dosa before, but I’m a huge fan of tofu, so why not? The same dosa featured in the above dish except filled and rolled up with chunks of curried potatoes and garlic chili fried tofu. It’s deceivingly filling! The coconut chutney was watery and I supposed you could even say boring, save for the speckles of mustard seed. That was the only item on the plate left unfinished. I enjoyed the sambal, with plenty of okra and pumpkin in the tamarind based broth.

All in all? I’ll be back for lunch! Prices are noticeably higher at dinner and all items run a la carte. But the lunches offered on Fri, Sat and Sun (such as the ones we had) are fairly priced between $7-8. It’s a tiny restaurant, with a steady stream of customers, but never gets too crowded. The people are nice, the food is good, what more do you want?

After lunch my dad said again, “it’s all curry!” But this time he left out the “it’s all naan!” part, and instead ended the sentence with, “let’s come back tomorrow!”

India Cafe
1016 Kapahulu Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96818
(808) 737-4600

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