There are times when you slowly realise you’re the last one in on the story. This is one of those times. I was quite proud of myself for picking somewhere nearby for Dumpling Club, somewhere highly rated and that no one had told me about. It dawned on me when other groups of colleagues showed up in succession, and then a couple of Dumpling Club members said this was their ‘regular’ Indian place. Seriously, people!
I quickly understood why. It’s not because of the cricket memorabilia decorating the walls; I’m guessing Wasim Akram is someone really, REALLY famous in the cricketing world. It could be the intriguing Indian-Chinese dishes (Chicken Manchurian anyone?), or the uber efficient, prompt service. But it’s most likely the excellent Hyderabadi food.
Paradise Indian Food is great for a quick lunch; there is a good range of their most popular dishes ready to serve, with their mesmerizingly brilliant hues. Anything not on display is a quick 5-10 minutes away. Our dishes came out one at a time as they were cooked which was a great delight every time a new dish was served.
We started with a mixed platter ($15) of various tandoor cooked meats with a refreshing raita; I had a piece of smokey delicious tandoori chicken. The naan bread were light and nicely charred.
The Shanghai Chicken ($12) was bright red in colour, and has a strong chilli hit.
I really enjoyed the dum ka gosht ($12), which is lamb (gosht) on the bone, marinated with yoghurt and spices and cooked in dum style (steaming over coals). The lamb was perfectly tender, and the savoury sauce was heady with fragrant spices.
The Paradise special paneer masala ($14) is cottage cheese and green pepper cooked in cashew and saffron sauce. This is another excellent dish, the cheese has a great chewy texture, somewhere between a halloumi and a mozzarella, and the smooth nutty sauce is delicious.
The onion pakora ($10) comes in a huge serving, and the spiced chickpea battered onions are so moreish; I kept picking away at it. Even the crispy curry leaves were tasty.
Paradise is famous for their biryani (spiced meat and rice dish), which means all the more reason to make a return soon.
Paradise Indian Food
591 & 595 Sandringham Road, Auckland
Ph: 09 – 845 1144
Open 7 days: 11:30am – 9:30pm