Peter Cornish tucks into Indian and Sri Lankan food in a stylish setting, at Soul Curry. Photos by Angeli Castillo.
The corner of Ton That Dam and Huynh Thuc Khang is starting to develop a bit of a reputation for food and drink, with everyone’s favourite fish and chip shop (Union Jack’s) and the city’s lowest rooftop bar (In SaiGong) attracting plenty of custom.
And now a new addition to the cross-roads is offering some welcome tastes of India and Sri Lanka with an up-market vibe and affordable prices.
Soul Curry is not your typical curry house so, as tempting as it might be, don’t turn up there after an evening on the lash expecting to give it large with a chicken vindaloo and a couple of extra poppadoms.
This is curry meets fine dining in a modern, intimate environment serving up a fusion of Indian cuisine with some local Vietnamese flavours.
Spread over three levels with an additional mezzanine housing an impressive collection of premium Indian and Sri Lankan teas, the downstairs floor is ideal for lunch with colleagues or an intimate evening meal. Larger parties are seated in upstairs rooms overlooking the street below.
With experienced Indian chefs running the kitchen, the flavours are the peppery spices of Sri Lanka, and the tandoor specialities of northern India.
The tastes are suitable for everyone’s palate with dishes spiced to your personal choice.
First up was a Sri Lankan speciality, hot butter cuttlefish (VND110,000) marinated then deep fried and tossed in a spicy sauce. It’s a little hot in taste, as the name suggests, with a mild chilli kick but succulent and beautifully cooked. Paneer tikka masala (VND165,000) is one for the vegetarians, pieces of cottage cheese marinated in a creamy yogurt sauce then baked in a traditional tandoor. Mouth-wateringly rich and mild in taste, and perfect for washing down with an icy cold beer.
Next we enjoyed a spectacularly green chicken pudhina tikka (VND130,000), tender chicken pieces marinated in a coriander mint sauce and again cooked in the traditional clay oven tandoor.
We also tried egg hoppers (VND140,000), another signature dish from Sri Lanka and southern Indian. This dish is its own bowl! The bowl is a fried pancake-like affair made from fermented rice flour, with an egg cooked inside.
Those familiar with Sri Lankan and southern Indian cuisine will see favourites on the menu such as Sri Lankan biryani chicken (VND175,000) tandoor prawn (VND175,000) bhindi masala (VND90,000) and the ever-popular chicken tikka masala (VND165,000). This restaurant promises and delivers a great curry and is already creating a name for itself on the foody circuit of the city.
We’re already planning a return visit to try the mushroom tikka (VND110,000) and the whole fish tandoori (VND175,000), marinated in yoghurt, freshly-ground spices and grilled in the tandoor.