I don’t know how I first came to know of Tiffin Wallah and its greatness, but nevertheless I am indebted to whoever told me about it (think it was my friend Rachel). Just a few steps shy of “Curry Hill,” the affectionate term used to describe the section of Murray Hill that is home to what seems like hundreds of Indian restaurants, Tiffin Wallah is a step above a lot of riff raff in the area. I don’t want to come off as an expert in Indian cuisine but this place is hands down the best Indian food I have had in the city! The menu is so extensive you’ll forget it is completely vegetarian, and the prices can’t be beat.
So I invited my girl Sasha out for dinner and we headed towards one of our favorite spots eager to catch up and have a little girl talk. She and I will basically eat anything and having been here many times before s0 we knew that it was pretty darn hard to go wrong with choosing our meal. But for the newbies you may find yourself scratching your head at a few items as a number of them look similar but have small differences; such as one may have onion, potato and spinach and another has spinach and potato (you know that kind of thing). All three dishes we ordered were damn near perfect and the only problem we found was that we didn’t have enough roti or raita to accompany our smorgasbord of food.
puffed rice, crispy noodles, tomato, tamarind, cilantro and onion
Light and simple this “tiffin” has a great kick of flavor that hits you as soon as you dig in. I guess you could call it a salad and I order this every time because the crispy crunch that comes with each bite coupled with the cool onion, cilantro and tomato makes for the perfect light start to our gluttonous meal. Throw some raita on top and I am a very happy gal; Sasha and I kept taking turns digging in hoping one saved some for the other each time our fork hit the bowl.
*Tiffin Wallah Thali Dinner*
papadum, palak paneer, chana masala, rasam, raita, chapati, pulav, and kheer
I dare one person to try to eat this entire thing; Sasha and I split this and still had leftovers! If you haven’t ventured far into Indian food before I suggest going with this platter… it has everything you need to peep into the savory world of Indian food. So I didn’t always know exactly what I was eating but I could have cared less; with a piece of roti I assembled a few open-faced “sandwiches” piling everything on that I possibly could!
Oh ya…the basmati rice that came with it was heavenly; even as I thought I couldn’t stomach another bite… I went for the rice. Best rice I have EVER tasted, they must infuse culinary crack into it when cooking because I went after the plain white rice like I hadn’t eaten in days.
*Undhiyu Gujarati Curry*
potato, eggplant, yam, snowpea and butter sauce
Pretty darn solid if you ask me… some may look at the picture and say that it looks unappealing but like the old adage says… don’t judge a book by its cover. It had a subtle and pleasant spice that blended seamlessly with the ingredients. The small soft bits of eggplant, potato and yam swimming in the sauce also brought a great texture to the dish. I spent a good amount of time swirling every bite around in my mouth to savor all of the delicious earthy flavors.
I don’t know how it happened but even after Sasha and I devoured an almost too generous serving for ourselves, we still had what looked like a full plate! The waiter cleared the table (after I got a few last digs at the rice) and quickly brought us our check as I think he noticed we were slowly rolling into a food coma. For 2 drinks (one wine and one tea), an appetizer, curry and platter our total came to….drum roll please…. a whopping $38!!!! Absolute steal for all of the food we were given!
As a veteran of TW I think there are a few things you should know… the decor isn’t anything to write home about and the servers are a tad aloof sometimes but once your food arrives they cease to exist but the food is legit. While I have only gone for dinner, apparently their lunch buffet is out of this world (all you can eat for $7!!!), so if you are in the area around lunchtime, make a trip to Tiffin Wallah to take advantage of this great deal.
I don’t have too many dining destinations that I frequent often but Tiffin Wallah gets an exception and a spot at the front of the line almost all the time. All things considered, Tiffin Wallah is one of Manhattan’s great finds. I mean if all vegetarian food tasted and smelled like the dishes coming out of the Tiffin Wallah kitchen… I think I could soften my dependence on meat.
127 East 28th Street (between Park and Lexington Avenues)