The Indian Kitchen is situated off the Main Street in Leixlip. It's hard to find, but so are precious stones, and at the risk of labouring the simile, this is a hidden gem. The restaurant is down the back of Ralph’s Square, beside a Yoga studio and health food shop. Inside the restaurant is large, and it was obviously once a Chinese, but it is nicely laid out and quite charming. We were seated at the back wall, which looks out on a green area, and leads down to the river, and on a sunny autumn evening was quite sylvan.
Poppadoms are one of mankind’s great inventions. You arrive starving and while looking at the menu get to stuff your face with crispy loveliness dipped in a choice of fenugreek or tamarind dip. It’s a pity we never came up with an irish equivalent, but happily for us we polished them off while deciding on the menu.
It is shorter than the traditional Indian menu, but that's no bad thing. There are still about ten starters and probably double than of main courses. Prices are reasonable and all of the classics are here, so choice isn’t a problem, and you don’t have to read through pages and pages of the same things with different meat or fish. They grind all thir own spices here daily, and there is a good selection of dishes available for vegetarians and Coeliacs.
We shared a medley of starters in the mixed platter and a portion of the Kalongi Jhinga- large barbecued prawns in yoghurt, ginger, paprika and toasted sesame seeds. The mixed platter included an impossibly tender chicken tikka, and a fish tikka was succulent and tasty. The seekh kebab was nicely flavoured and the samosa was probably the best I have had. Samosas can be dry and a little bland I find, but this one was moist and stuffed with vegetables and delicately flavoured.
The Tandoori prawns were Maureen’s favourite and she was blown away by how good they were, and indeed we all got in on the act. We probably had too many dishes to start, and since they were all good, we polished off every bit, leaving us a little too full for our mains. A little break was required and the staff were more than happy to oblige.
After the great start our expectations were high and main courses didn't disappoint with a classic lamb Rogan josh, which was hot but not so much as to kill the underlying flavours. A proper chicken tikka masala made Maureen a very happy camper, and Deirdre's fish served simply with lemon and ginger were impossibly light and a perfect choice for a healthy meal.
Sides of aloo gobi and Daal were both excellent, Pilau rice was fluffy rather than oily and the Naan bread was thin, just the right side of crispy and the garlic and coriander hadn't been allowed to burn at all.
This is a review of superlatives; and generally I don't like using them, but to find food of this quality in an out of the way location, so unlooked for, just blew us away. If you're in the Leixlip area, you need to try this, if not travel, it's worth a detour.