Dinner @ Indian Garden
Often praised as Stockholm’s best Indian chef, Karim Rezaul has expanded his restaurant empire by opening a new branch in Lindhagen, the newly-built neighborhood on northwestern Kungsholmen. His other restaurants on Södermalm and Liljeholmen have garnered critical acclaim and won several prizes, among them the prestigious title of Best South-East Asian restaurant in Europe at last year’s Asian Curry Awards. His latest venture has a vegetarian and organic profile – one that comes, however, with some problems.
Located a few blocks away from the lovely seaside quay of Lindhagen, parts of which are still under construction, it’s not the easiest place to get to unless you’re living in the area: parking is scarce and the underground is several blocks away. But those that do make their way here will find an ambitious restaurant with a varied and innovative menu.
However, our visit starts off on a note of confusion over the menu, which has the Swedish KRAV label printed on several pages. This means that they should be certified to use the label and that at least 25 per cent of their ingredients should be organic – at the same time, only one dish is separately marked as such. When we ask for clarification, the staff first claim that everything is organic – even the king prawns, which according to the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation is basically impossible. When asked about the prawns specifically, our waiter can’t provide a clear answer. A later check with the KRAV organization reveals that Indian Garden is in fact not certified by them; they’re merely working towards a future certification.
On the evening of our visit, we try to put the organic issues behind us and proceed to order. Tackling the menu is a considerable task; all in all there are over 60 dishes and at least close to as many spelling mistakes (spell-check, anyone?). Here, our waiter does prove to be a great help. Asking if we want lamb, chicken, fish or maybe something vegetarian, he provides a few suggestions, which we gladly accept.
Here’s the good news: the food tastes great. For starters, we try the Panch Poran Veg (79 kronor); a lightly fried vegetable called okrabadji or lady’s finger. It comes in a home-made, fried basket and is a nice, fresh dish, served with pumpkin, papaya, mushrooms, coconut and three different sauces on the side – a kind of carrot-cucumber-tomato salsa, a mint sauce and a coconut-onion chutney. Our main courses are also several notches above your average local Indian: we try the mango chicken balti, served in a sizzling iron pan (230 kronor) and the lamb shank rogan josh (259 kronor), a slowly-cooked leg of lamb served with mushrooms, lentils and minced lamb sauce. Both are juicy and filled with distinct flavours from herbs, vegetables and fruits.
Desserts are not the main thing here – and given the size of the portions, you probably won’t have space for any – but a glass of mango lassi (50 kronor) is never wrong.
But with such good food on offer it’s a shame that Indian Garden, in its eagerness to capitalize on the current organic boom, has complicated things by misusing the KRAV label. Wouldn’t it be better to set your organic ambition on a level that you can actually achieve?
Franzéngatan 50, www.indiangarden.nu