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Four Indian (and one Pakistani) restaurants you should know about

Here are five spots you should know, all offering delivery and takeaway through lockdown and beyond.

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Here are five spots you should know, all offering delivery and takeaway through lockdown and beyond. Photo: Chutnify

In the March print issue, I spotlighted Moksa and the “ghost restaurant” Tiffin, both of which have, at various points, promised to “finally” bring Indian flavours to the Hauptstadt. But they’re far from the only places to have done so.

Here are the others you should know, all offering delivery and takeaway through lockdown and beyond.

Chutnify

A pioneer when it opened in Prenzlauer Berg in 2014, Aparna Aurora’s South Indian-inflected restaurant now boasts a sister location in Neukölln as well as three branches in Portugal. It remains one of the best places in town to get a dosa – thin and crispy, tangy from three days of fermentation and filled with all kinds of goodies, from spiced potatoes to tandoori chicken – or a generous thali plate overflowing with veggie, meat and/or fish curries. The delivery/takeout menu omits the “Bombay Bhel”, our favourite starter, but keeps the Nimboo Pani, a surprisingly refreshing lemonade punched up with Indian black salt.

Sredzkistr. 43, Prenzlauer Berg / Pflügerstr. 25, Neukölln | Order online at chutnify.com.


Bahadur

A significant part of chef Bahadur Vir’s menu overlaps with that of your average Berlin Indian restaurant. You know, the one that sells €3.50 pina coladas and inexplicably puts corn on everything? But here’s the thing: it’s way better. As Bahadur, an age-old yawner like tandoori chicken becomes a revelation, tender and smoke-kissed from the hot clay oven. Similarly, the creamy lentil stew dal makhni transforms from a forgettable side dish to a star in its own right, thanks to a 12-hour cooking time that lends it a depth of flavour you won’t find elsewhere. Look out for weekend specials like Punjabi kadhi (fried veggie pakoras in a creamy yoghurt sauce) or grilled black kingfish.

Sigmaringer Str. 36, Wilmersdorf |  Pick up or order on Eataround

Swadesh

Opened mid-pandemic in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it spot by Oberbaumbrücke, Swadesh quickly became popular for its selection of South Indian street food classics (there’s a North Indian menu, too, but it’s less reliable). The dosas are crisp and airy, nearly the size of your head and filled with creamy potatoes or paneer cheese. There’s also a particularly good version of sambar vada, donut-like lentil fritters served in a mildly spicy vegetable soup. Order an extra side of coconut chutney; you’ll want it on everything.

Falckensteinstr. 44a, Kreuzberg | Pick up or order on Lieferando or Wolt

Agni

When in Moabit, make your way to this pint-sized spot for suitably spicy and very satisfying Punjabi-style vegetarian dishes. You could get full just off the selection of flatbreads, from the expected naan to potato parathas to the harder-to-find kulcha, puffy white bread stuffed with cauliflower, mixed vegetables or cheese. Anything from the tandoori oven, from paneer to a soymeat version of chicken tikka, is a must. If you simply can’t live without meat, you’ll find it at Agni’s other location in Prenzlauer Berg.

Kaiserin-Augusta-Allee 1, Moabit / Prenzlauer Allee 145, Prenzlauer Berg |  Pick up or order delivery within a 2km radius


Mann-O-Salwa

Okay, this relative newcomer is actually proudly Pakistani, but I had to find some way to pay tribute to the restaurant whose delivery menu has been affixed to my fridge since the start of the pandemic. And besides, for Neuköllners craving a fast yet flavourful weeknight curry – whether it’s malai kofta (vegetable balls in a rich, subtly sweet cashew cream sauce), a brick-red vegetable and tofu jhalfrezi with a real kick to it, or any number of other vegetarian and meat classics – there is no substitute. (On a weekend, the excellent pakoras and other traditional Pakistani dishes at Kreuzberg’s Mama Shabz are worth the extra wait time.)

Sonnenallee 137, Neukölln | Pick up or call 030/98550422 for delivery