My parents were in town, which means I was eating out with them every other night. We happened to have a taste for Indian, and took in a few of the Indian restaurants in Zurich: King’s Kurry
and Indian Palace.
King’s Kurry is popular throughout Zurich, and is generally recognized as the place to get Indian food. It’s located at Freyastrasse 3 (map), near the Wiedikon Bahnhof. The interior is really cool, probably the most exotic Indian place I’ve visited between Zurich and Detroit. The ceiling is sky blue, the knives and forks look like cool futuristic surgical tools and the bowls look pieces belonging to a collection from MoMA in New York.
Like in every Indian restaurant, King Fisher beer is on the drink list. You can get all the tasty favorites like tandoori, palack paneer, samosas, dosas, chutney, mango lassies, and pakoras. As an experience, King’s Kurry is top notch. The lassi comes with a K drizzled on top, the cool triangular tandoori plate, the curved-handle bowls; all pretty cool and for sure made the meal a memorable one.
Ordering at King’s Kurry was also an experience, the waiter seemed to talk to at a rather quick pace, and when the topic of appetizers came up, in the confusion – it seems we ordered samosas, nan and rice.
Apparently we’d actually ordered the King’s Plater. A nice collection of pakoras, tandoori chicken, fish, chutney, and dosas. This offered a nice collection of different tastes, it was a bit much as the main meal was still coming, and the pakoras were cold. Apparently it also came with a price tag of 55 CHF, which we discovered when the bill came. If we’d known the price we would have just indulged in a side of samosas.
Talking quickly and bringing out a side dish is not uncommon is some places. It’s especially common in places like the el Greco restaurant on Zakynthos (in Greece). At el Greco they dropped off some oiled peppers as a side order and then charged us 2 Euros on the bill. This way the restaurant makes a little bit more off of the tourists who will be gone the next week. 2 Euros is ok, 55 CHF is a bit much for a blind-sided appetizer.
It’s more a matter of principle than the cost, you shouldn’t have to order and then carefully check every single charge to make sure you’re not buying something unexpected. So long as the extra charge is small, it’s ok. As a tourist you want to be carefree and enjoy your time. For the restaurant it’s a question of long time customers versus short term profits.
Tourists represent shot-term gains, they’re there, spend a lot of money (hopefully) and then leave. Locals represent long-term revenue, so if you screw with them you screw with your ability to make a consistent profit month to month and year to year. At King’s Kurry, half of us were tourists, half were foreign locals, who probably will never go back.
The tandoori was good, it came on a large black triangular plate, if you’ve been heavily medicated, the tandoori will probably induce visions of UFOs and Martians coming to abduct you. The tandoori was yummy, but not much better than what I’d cook at home with tandoori mix. The rice was some of the best I’ve ever tried and the nan was also quite kick-ass. I ordered the palak paneer with three chilies, and it was at my limit of hot. This is absolutely outstanding for Zurich, where most places are mild for the European palate.
After a sampling of the King’s Kurry experience, the taste in my mouth makes me feel that presentation was more prominent than quality. I’m not an Indian chef, but I can dish out a chana masalla or dal without much of a second thought. I guess this is generally true, it’s easy to cook an awesome meal at home, you go out for the atmosphere. In the US I go to Indian restaurants because the food is generally not that expensive and usually quite tasty. Considering that it’s made of basic ingredients and wait staff are usually all related, it makes sense that it should be cheaper. Otherwise I cook Inidan at home because it’s fast, healthy, and cheap. For Zurich it feels like a lot to drop a wad of cash on a palak paneer, plus rice, plus nan.
When faced with the prospect of a future visit to King’s Kurry, I’d rather drop 250 CHF on a new dishes, a cook book, and recreate the the experience in the apartment. Then the dinner would be more personal, and I wouldn’t leave wondering where all the money went.
Indian Palace left a completely different taste in my mind, although not the most originally named – Indian place (there’s many in Detroit) is my choice for going out in Zurich. Inidan Palace is located at Schaffhauserstrasse 129 (map) near the Milchbuch tram stop. The prices are about the same, a little less than King’s Kurry, but I enjoyed the experience far more. I ordered palak paneer with potatoes, and the dinner was served in small bowls with a candle below to keep everything warm. This is where King’s Kurry and India Palace diverge. At India Palace the focus was on the excellent savory things we were eating – not on what the cutlery looked like.
Also like every Indian restaurant in the world (that I’ve been to) both places offer an Indian buffet during lunch, which is the thing to do if you want tasty Indian food in Zurich without dropping a wad of cash (usually the buffets are around 20 CHF). A rather extensive list of Indian restaurants in Zurich can be found here.