By second semester, most students on this campus run out of eating options that don’t include greasy pizza, sodium-smothered Chinese food, or late-night runs to Burger King.Amric Singh, son of India Garden’s owner, explains that India Garden was originally called Indian Paradise.
“My uncle, who lives in Delaware, owned both this restaurant and another in his state. He couldn’t juggle both businesses on his own, so my family decided to take on the responsibility.”
Singh and his family moved from Queens, N.Y. after, ironically, having closed their own restaurant in New York City.
For nearly six years now, India Garden has sat on the back burner of the fast-food and pizza giants that occupy the main streets of West Chester. However, 2004 is a new beginning for this underrated family-owned and operated business.
Specializing in traditional Tandoori cuisine, India Garden offers a wide variety of dishes that include chicken, beef, lamb, shrimp and over 20 vegetarian selections.
“We offer large portions of a variety of healthy foods that are prepared fresh, and at a reasonable price. It’s pretty much a home-cooked meal,” said Singh.
Contrary to popular belief–and the primary reason why most Americans don’t branch out and try Indian cuisine–the majority of the dishes are not spicy. All entrees are prepared mild to begin with, unless otherwise specified.
The dining experience at India Garden begins with the selection of your own table–something that most restaurants do not offer. Traditional Punjabi music, some even skillfully blended with current tunes, plays softly in the background. Sequin-decorated tapestries cover the walls with images of women and men dancing or savoring a moment alone on a swing. Mini chandeliers create a gold lighting that balances the wine and carnation hues of the tables and walls.
Papadoms, thin bean wafers that are reminiscent of a tortilla chip’s texture, are served while waiting for the main meal, which arrived promptly within 10 minutes.
One of the most popular main entrees, Chicken Makhani, is a favorite due to the juiciness of the chicken cutlets, which consists of Tandoori boneless chicken cooked on a skewer in the tandoor, a clay oven, and is served in a curried tomato sauce over Basmati rice.
To neutralize the spices in this dish you can, order plain naan (available in other flavors that include onion, garlic, meat, cauliflower and spinach). Costing only two dollars, this baked clay oven bread is soft and addictive.
The amount of food that is brought out for my dollar calls for a take-out container, which stays well in the refrigerator, even for days.
For dessert, there is the choice of two traditional Indian delights, gulab jamun (sponge-like cheese balls) or kheer (rice pudding). In addition to these choices, mango and pistachio ice creams are offered, as well as mango or banana lassis (a combination of fruit, yogurt, milk, and sugar). The banana lassi makes a fabulous dessert because it cools the spices that are in some of the hotter dishes.
In total, the meal cost less than $15 and serves as leftovers for another meal.
Most dishes at India Garden range from $6.50 to 12.95 and come in large portions, so you’re really getting your money’s-worth.
If having dinner at India Garden causes you to crave more, which isn’t unusual, there’s a lunch buffet served every Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. From 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (9 p.m. on Sundays), dinner is served and reservations are available.
In addition to regular meal hours, India Garden also specializes in indoor and outdoor catering as well as hosting private parties for any special event.