RESTAURANT REVIEW

Indian in the east


Krishna
Where: Bulharská 60, Bratislava
Open: Monday to Saturday 11:00 - 22:00, and Sunday 11:00-15:00
Reservations: Yes
English menu: Yes
Tel: 0907/193-492, or 0907/117-921
Rating: 8 out of 10


A WIDE range of decor styles spice up the dining experience.
photo: Eric Smillie

Krishna
Where: Bulharská 60, Bratislava
Open: Monday to Saturday 11:00 - 22:00, and Sunday 11:00-15:00
Reservations: Yes
English menu: Yes
Tel: 0907/193-492, or 0907/117-921
Rating: 8 out of 10

COMMON knowledge dictates that the success of a restaurant depends on location, location, location. If this is true, Krishna breaks all the rules. If other factors contribute to popularity, then this new spot for Indian food may prove common knowledge wrong.

Bulharská Street is a short walk from the 61 bus stop in front of the Avion shopping mall, not far from the airport in Bratislava's northeast corner. Perhaps the idea is to snare shoppers, but it must be hard work to draw them away from the mall's cafes and food court, especially when they are laden down with the day's purchases.

Once visitors are attracted to the restaurant though, what they find inside is likely to please them. First of all, Krishna has a knack for decor. Those responsible for the interior design have pooled Slovakia's ethnic decorative resour-ces, producing an astounding mix of kitsch items from around the globe. Thousands of miles stand between the African masks, Indian elephant heads and embroidered wall hangings, the Chinese dragons adorning the chairs, and the coloured Tibetan lamps.

This mishmash might be irritating if combined with snotty or poor service and mediocre food. But the bright interior is lively and pleasant under the care of the personable wait-staff and between bites of the best Indian food in Bratislava.

Where to begin? Perhaps with a smooth drink like the familiar mango lassi, or the thanadai, made from hot or cold milk flavoured with cardamom, crushed almonds, and saffron. Both run around Sk70 for a cup.

The soups are delicious too. There is dal aur palak shorba, made from lentils and spinach and sprinkled with fresh condiments; a tomato soup with ginger and coriander; and murgh yakhni, a chicken soup.

At this rate I will never make it through the whole menu. First of all, there are too many items to mention, and second, most taste - or at least sound - delicious. One section features dishes baked in a tandoor oven, the restaurant's specialty. On one occasion this mysterious oven produced a jaipuri tandoori platter for Sk195 - a selection of stuffed and baked potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers. They were tasty, but for those used to saucy curries, they may be a little dry.

From the more familiar Indian meat dishes, such as chicken masala curry, chicken vindaloo, and the lamb dish rogan josh, which are also available, my companion chose the first selection, murg tikka lababdar, at Sk159. Perhaps she did so because its description was so convincing she was unable to read farther. I am not surprised: Just writing about this charcoal roasted chicken in tomato-cashew gravy almost makes me hungry. She said that it tasted as good as it looked - tender and perfectly flavoured.

Likewise, there is a page full of tempting vegetarian combinations of potatoes, spinach, chickpeas, lentils, cauliflower, and all the other ingredients you might hope for. Though vegetarians have ample and well-marked choices, a familiar problem did surface. In the pakora appetizer: What should have been cheese fried in batter along with vegetable tidbits, like an Indian tempura, turned out to be chicken.

As for special features, there are two tandoori "feasts" for two, one that comes without meat.

If you are unsure whether to make the trip, a very, very similar menu is served at the Haveli Indian restaurant in Prague, and is on the internet (www.haveli.cz). But rest assured, the food is worth the trip and the high prices.

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