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Wild Green Kitchen Report: Indian Connection

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I adore Indian cuisine, especially as there is such a wide range of classical dishes on offer for vegetarians. Durban has Indian eateries in abundance, each with their own special take on the country’s different styles of food. Although it has been around for a while, I had not yet visited The Indian Connection on Lilian Ngoyi Road and was keen to try some of my favourite dishes. It turned out to be a mixed experience ……

The Indian Connection in situated in an old house set back from Windermere Road and it is best to enter from the Rapson Road entrance, where there is ample parking. The décor is sparse; and not very imaginative: simple wooden tables and chairs with plastic table cloths. There are a few window settings which we headed for, as had the other few patrons that night. We were greeted by a host and settled into the table of our choice; then our cheery waitress took our refreshment orders efficiently enough.  There were no extras to sweeten the deal, such as crispy papads with spicy dips. And I noticed that Indian Connection charges separately for rice, rather than including it in the bill for the ordered dish as some other restaurants do.

We shared the Stuffed Kulcha for a very reasonably priced starter - and a hearty starter it was. Two rotis filled with spicy potato filling, smothered in ghee and quickly seared on the griddle. It was fresh and delicious and very satisfying and kept us well occupied while our curries were being prepared.

My friend chose the Durban Prawn Curry with Basmati rice; medium hot. I tried my favourite must-have dish, paneer, given a slightly different treatment, served in tikka-spiced sauce. Aptly named  Paneer Tikka Masala, it has less cream than my usual choice, the makhani sauce. I also asked for medium heat, and as this is always a ticklish business as chilli heat is relative, I was happy that we were on the same page. The paneer was tender and the pieces large; it was good value for money at R58.

Although the food was well made, I found the atmosphere lacking at The Indian Connection. That may have had something to do with the fact that it was not at all busy on a Saturday evening, that the music had no distinctive style and the head waiter seemed distracted, constantly popping in and out of the front door. I had to hunt out the waitress to ask her to give us the bill. While the service was prompt and the food pleasant enough and reasonably priced, there was no effort to make to create that ‘please come again’ vibe. I’ll do take-aways next time and munch my curry down by the ocean…..

The Indian Connection is in Morningside, at 485 Lilian Ngoyi Road. Call 031 3121440.

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