On a very cold Friday night, Adam and I decided to brave the elements and go out to dinner. We actually originally had plans to stay in and make some healthy burgers, but we can’t help ourselves – it’s hard to stay at home on a Friday night! We recently purchased a Groupon to Mela – a modern casual Indian restaurant, so we had a good excuse to go out 😉
The space was clean, modern and cozy.
And now let’s get to food. Adam and I were both starving, so it was really nice to get a tiny cup of complementary chicken soup before we even had a chance to look at the menu. It was warm and perfect for a cold night like last night!
Of course we ordered a bottle of wine with our dinner. The Campo Viejo Crianza Tempranillo from Rioja caught Adam’s attention and it did not disappoint. The wine was full-flavored with a medium body, which in my opinion is the perfect combination.
I actually was drinking faster than Adam – that never happens! It was just going down so easy 😆 Our conversation kept on coming back to how much we were enjoying this wine. At some point, Adam said he could drink this every night – it was just perfect. I was happy to find out this morning that it retails at $9.99. I guess we could drink it every night (although I’m a tiny bit mad that we paid $35 for it at the restaurant!).
For our dinner, the non-vegetarian dinner for 2 for $45 was too good of a deal to pass up. You get Mulligatawny Soup, Meat Samosa, mixed Tandoori, a choice of 2 entrees from Classic Curries, Basmati Rice, Naan, dessert and tea or coffee. That’s a lot of food!!
Mulligatawny soup: spicy hot soup, made with lentils, vegetables and spices
This was my first time trying mulligatawny soup so I didn’t know what to expect. The base tasted like chickpeas (now I see it’s lentils!) with lots of yummy Indian spices. Pretty mellow (not spicy at all!) with a nice texture (mostly pureed but not too thick). Adam loved this soup too and didn’t detect any lentil flavor – he supposedly despises lentils. Maybe there is hope for me to convert him after all. Mwahaha 😀
Next up, our must-get appetizer at an Indian restaurant – vegetable samosas (we asked to substitute them for the meat samosas that came with the dinner for 2) – spicy turnovers stuffed with potatoes and green peas. What’s not to love?!
I’ve never met a vegetable samosa I didn’t like, and this one can join that list. At the end for some reason, I was tasting onions pretty strongly (not a good thing!) but I didn’t see any in the filling and it was definitely not in the sauce. Hmm.
Coming up – our curry feast!
Again – this is a must-order dish for me – chicken tikka masala. When I crave Indian food, this is it. I know it’s kind of silly of me to order the same dish every time. It’s like getting fettuccine alfredo every time you go to an Italian restaurant. It may be good, but there are other incredible (healthier and tastier!) dishes out there… but I just can’t help it! For those of you who’ve never had this Indian perfection of a dish, it consists of diced, boneless white meat chicken Tandoori-style cooked in rich tomato cream sauce. Yeah, perfection pretty much sums it up! 😀
The other curry dish we chose was palak panner – homemade Indian cheese in a creamy spinach sauté
Paneer is the only vegetarian dish I can get Adam to order. It’s no wonder he loves it – cheese covered in creamed spinach. No brainer here. I’m hoping to get something a little fresher next time (cauliflower?) to counteract all those creamy sauces. Baby steps.
Naan – perfectly fluffy!
And if this wasn’t enough – a sample of their Tandoori mixed grill came out: chicken tikka, tandoori chicken, lamb boti kebab, seekh kebab and garden salad
I had a few pieces of the chicken tikka (so tender!!) – couldn’t help but dip it in the masala sauce, and one piece of the beef (too overcooked and dry). Adam enjoyed the lamb but I generally don’t like lamb so I stayed away.
We were trying to pace ourselves and not finish each course as it came, so there was tiny bit of room left for dessert. We ordered 2 different kinds to try (out of 4 options available with the pre-fixe).
Badmai Kulfi – a firm, Moghul style ice cream, flavored with cashews and pistachios
It was somewhere in between a hard ice slushy and creamy ice cream. Adam and I really enjoyed the unique flavors of this dessert.
Gulab Jamun – rich, sweet milk & flour dumpling served in syrup
Another unique dessert! It was like a coconuty donut soaked in syrup. Pretty yummy 😀
This was an excellent meal!! It was fun having a tasting menu and try some new dishes while enjoying old favorites. The quality and flavor of every course was outstanding. I definitely recommend Mela!