Thursday was a whirlwhind of social activity with the launch of the Editor’s second novel, and the second EP from Maude In Cahoots (Dance with Me). By 9pm we realised the food intake of the day had been limited and tummies were doing some serious rumbling. We got parking on South William Street and headed to Bear, but were informed they had stopped serving. At 9.30pm? We headed to South Anne Street to try Indie Dhaba – the new Indian Tapas and Cocktail bar that had opened in the old Venue building. It’s a dining room down three flights of stairs in a large basement. We were pleasantly surprised when we found the dining room both busy and buzzing, something that was not at all evident from the cold and cavernous entrance. They were serving and had a table. Crisis averted for the fussy food columnist and her hungry gay friend! The décor is modern Indian chic with orange Kartell pendant lights low-hanging over the booths, purple and yellow Flashdance-esque wall and mirror designs, and large TV showing Indian MTV. The room is set out with a bar and kitchen on one side and booths on the opposite wall, with tables in the middle.
The menu needed some perusing (not helping the humor of the starving gay). There was ample choice of Indian tapas plates, larger plates, salads, one-pot dishes and Indian favorites. We ordered two tapas plates, a salad, a favorite dish (Murgh Makhani Chicken) and two nan breads, asking for all the food to come together. We ignored the cute ‘Tipples’ menu as we were driving. Tap water came in a stylish jug with mint, lemon and cucumber. We nibbled on the cucumber to combat the hunger pangs. The food arrived in a timely enough manner but with far too many fussy plates to fit on a table for two – a basket each for the nan breads, two rectangular dining plates, a hot skillet with the Murgh Makhani and a massive round bowl with the salad. I scooped the salad onto one of the dining plates and put the nan’s into one basket and we were sorted.
The Makhani Chicken was creamy and mildly spiced but a very small portion for what was supposed to be the gay’s main course, and at €12.50, pricey enough to be served without rice. He used the buttery blistered Nan to scoop up the creamy goodness and give bulk to the dish. My halloumi salad had only two pieces of halloumi, the mixed baby leaves, green beans and cherry tomatoes were zested up with what tasted like a lime dressing and tiny pieces of mango, and combined with the saltiness of the chesse this made for a good dish despite the portion size. I had ordered the Kashmiri Nan, which is their version a Peshwari – a delicious bread stuffed with sultanas, cinnamon, apple and almonds.
We were almost finished when we realised our starters hadn’t arrived. We said nothing as the nans had hit the spot and it was getting late. We waited to see if the starters would appear on the bill or if there would be some comment from the waiter. No sight or mention!
As my eyes are usually bigger than my belly, I think this could be a unique marketing proposition for Indie Dhaba – ‘Over order at your heart’s content and our waiters will only bring you what they think you need’. Perfect for the waistband and the wallet too. Our meal came in at a very reasonable €28, making perhaps the cheapest meal I have ever had out. Having said that, there was no alcohol involved. Maybe I should bring the car more often!
Indie Dhaba, 21-26 Anne’s Lane, Sout Anne Street, Dublin 2, (01) 707 9898, www.dhaba.ie
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