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While there is nothing wrong with “traditional” Indian food, there is definitely a glut of restaurants that serve up dross North Indian dishes, watered down for Western palates. Ruchi is not one of them. The cool, clean lines of Ruchi’s interior belie the fiery and unusual curries and tandoor delicacies on offer. Regularly packed any night of the week, it’s best to come early, although the wait for a table is made bearable by the charming Indian supermarket just next door, where one can rent the latest DVDs straight from Bollywood. Once inside, the aromas from the kitchen are distracting; it’s almost impossible to pick just one thing to have for dinner.
Thankfully, Ruchi offers a number of different banquet menus for those who have a hard time deciding. For the more adventurous, try a thali – a mixed platter of small tasting dishes and entrees, and house specials – great for sharing and trying just a little bit of everything. For those of us comforted by the staples of rogan josh, vindaloo or butter chicken, Ruchi offers solid curries; however, to get the most out of the kitchen, try one of their special dosais – a flavour-filled pancake that is surprisingly filling. Ruchi’s uniquely southern Indian curries are, unsurprisingly, fantastic; Hyderabadi lamb tempers a spicy peanut curry with fresh green peas, and the hot chicken Chettinad is a powerful dish of pepper and fresh garlic. Vegetarians are well-catered for as well; try the bhagare baingun, another peanut curry from Hyderabadi, filled with eggplant and flavoured with coconut and sesame seeds. If you still have room after all this, the gulab jamoon (deep-fried cottage cheese with honey) is the perfect dessert; if not, take your leftovers, grab those Bollywood movies and head home from your brief sojourn in India’s south.