CONTRIBUTED BY ANJALI LIND
We headed into Itaewon on a Saturday night looking for dinner and not sure where we’d end up. We were hoping to try the special Ethiopian menu at Sinbad’s Kitchen, but unfortunately they said that was just a promotional menu and is no longer offered. So we wandered a bit farther and decided to try the Indian restaurant Taj Palace off the main Itaewon drag and above a small grocery store I had visited previously, the National Foods Mart. The National Foods Mart offers many Indian spices and cooking supplies, so check it out if you’re in need of those items.
Taj Palace is on the second floor, and has a good amount of space. In one section of the room a dinner buffet was set up, but we opted to order off the extensive menu. The dinner buffet is only offered Fridays-Sundays, as well as holidays, and they have a lunch buffet on Saturdays and Sundays as well.
We started with an order of samosas, a triangular appetizer of chickpea batter surrounding a spicy potato mixture, then deep fried. The samosas were served with a creamy mint sauce, and were very good – not too dry and not too greasy.
Our entrees came out quickly – paneer korma and chicken tikka masala. The paneer korma was creamy and rich, with a strong cardamom flavor.
The chicken tikka masala looked and smelled tomato-heavy, but turned out to have a very complex and deep flavor profile that both of us loved. My husband said it was one of the best he’s ever had, and I would have to agree.
Unlike most Indian restaurants in the U.S. where they provide rice free with your entree, you have to order rice on the side if you want it. I appreciated that they offered both short-grain rice, standard in Korea, and basmati rice for 1000 won more. The basmati was definitely worth paying the mark-up! The last Indian restaurant we ate at here served short-grain rice, no other option, and it was very strange to eat curry with it.
At the end of the meal, we ordered masala chai, which took a while to arrive – a good sign that it’s being made fresh. It was nicely balanced and a perfect end to the meal.
click photos to enlarge menus
Taj Palace, Seoul
Hours: Daily, 11:00-22:00
Address: 2F 132-2, Itaewon1-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
GPS Coordinates: 37.53366, 126.9954315
Directions: Coming out of Itaewon Station, take Exit 3 and walk straight until you reach the Dunkin Donuts. Take a right at the corner and continue walking up the hill, and Taj Palace will be on your right on the 2nd floor above the National Foods Mart.