Date night last week was Saturday night and we went out for Indian food. Melbourne has a large Indian population and it is relatively easy to get good Indian food in restaurant, take out or home delivered. I have been really lucky in the food that has been available at my doorstep living in Melbourne. A couple of weeks ago we had seen something on the Travel Channel about Indian food and since then I had been hankering for the spicy, delicious goodness of an Indian curry. The question was where to get good Indian food in Phoenix, Arizona.

J. had an Indian restaurant in mind. This was one he had been to a few times but not for many years. So many years that he had never taken me to this place. India Gate is a 10 minute drive from home in a shopping complex that has more empty shops than operating businesses. As we were driving around looking for it I was starting to get concerned it may have been closed. Fortunately it was still open!

As with most of our outings to new restaurants J. and I had studied the menu and made our choices before we got there. We had them chosen a few days before actually. We thought we would order a lot and if there was leftovers we could just have them for our Sunday dinner or lunch. I think our waiter was a little surprised by the large amounts of food we ordered and then further surprised by our request for very hot when he asked how spicy we wanted it.

As we waited for our food to arrive they brought out a little taster for us. I have no idea what the 2 dipping sauces were but they were excellent. One sweet and tangy and the other really spicy. They were great with the crispy papadums and we polished them off very quickly. We were starving by this stage having eaten very little all day in anticipation of an Indian feast that night. Of course I had a Kingfisher beer to help wash it all down – spicy food and beer – a perfect date night for me!

All our food arrived at exactly the same time. We had to squeeze everything onto our little table but fortunately it all fit. 2 curries, a tandoori mixed grill, rice and 2 different types of bread! A lot of food for us to get through. Steaming curries and sizzling tandoori, my mouth was watering as we dove in!

I was happy that I got to order my favorite Indian curry which is Saag Lamb. I am not sure why this has always been my favorite curry but the lamb cooked with spinach in the spicy curry sauce is just such a comforting food for me. The India Gate saag lamb was exceptional. The flavor was just spectacular and the lamb melted in your mouth. We had both garlic naan and roti bread to dip in our curries. Both the roti and the naan were excellent. The garlic naan had such great flavor and was so soft and yummy. We also had a side of basmati rice to mix in with our curries.

The other curry we ordered was the Tandoori Fish Masala. This is a rich curry of spiced fish cooked in a butter sauce. I usually stay away from fish curries as I am never sure about the quality of fish, however J. really wanted to try this. I am so happy we did. It was so good. Rich, creamy and buttery sauce with fish that fell apart in your mouth. I couldn’t believe how good this was. The sauce was sooo delicious, I just loved it with the roti and naan. I could have just had the sauce, no need for meat at all!

We couldn’t decide what kind of tandoori we wanted to try so we thought we would go with the Tandoori Mixed Grill which gave us an assortment of chicken kabobs, lamb and shrimp. These were all cooked on a bed of sweet onion and lemon. The tandoori chicken and shrimp were delicious but the lamb was unbeatable. The lemony onion flavor that had seeped through the meat just added to the Tandoori flavor already there. There was a mild spice to this that was just perfect. Delicious, juicy and so tasty. It came out sizzling and smoking but we still managed to eat every last bit of meat. The only thing left were a few pieces of onion and lemon that had been cooked to the plate.

I have a tradition at the end of meal of Indian food. The meal is so often rich and spicy I like to finish with a mango lassi. There is something refreshing and soothing about this Indian drink that when I have a belly full of food it is the perfect end to the meal. J. had never actually tried a lassi before so I think he was a little skeptical. He was very pleasantly surprised and really liked the sweet creamy drink. A great way to finish our spicy Indian meal.

This was a great restaurant, one that I will want to go back to regularly. The only thing I would say is that considering we asked for very hot when it came to spice, it wasn’t all that spicy. This isn’t a bad thing at all, just something to note if you are expecting hot spicy food! It is delicious, rich, comforting and filling… especially if you are like us and polish off everything but a few bits of onion. So much for leftovers for Sunday!

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