MOSCOW — From tandoori chicken to mutton barra and paneer malai kofta to sarso da saag, Indian restaurants in Russia are a huge hit among Russians and foreigners, and the owners of the joints are confident that the spicy cuisine will tickle more palates in the days to come.

There are around 10 restaurants in Moscow that serve Indian cuisine ranging from North Indian to South Indian dishes. Dzhey Hind, Darbars, Khajurao, Devi Cafe and Jagannath are some of the most popular Indian restaurants in the city.

“Indian cuisine is very popular not only in Moscow but also in other cities of Russia. The spicy Indian food is very popular among all age groups of Russians,” Rameshwar Singh, president of Disha, a Russian-Indian friendship society in Moscow, told PTI.

“We attract people of all nationalities. Although we serve both Indian and Chinese food, the Indian food is the most popular among all the dishes. Most of the items on our menu can be served mild or spicy to suit the different taste buds of our multi-national clientele,” said an official of Devi Cafe.

“People in Russia like Indian cuisine. Around 60-70 percent of guests who come to our restaurant are Russians. Only 25-30 percent are foreigners and Indians,” said a staff member of another Indian restaurant.

According to various restaurant officials, the ambience of the joints is created in a way that the customers get a feel of India. While some of the eateries have a feel of fine dining, others provide an atmosphere of the Indian-style ‘dhaba.’ 

Most of the restaurants have bright interiors to go down well with the theme of India, which is usually symbolized with vibrant colors.

“I have been to Indian restaurants on quite a few occasions. Although the food is a bit spicy, the taste is really good, especially of the fish and tandoori items. I generally visit with my family,” said Dmitri, a Russian who is a regular at Indian restaurants.

The most popular non-vegetarian dishes are mutton Hyderabadi (boneless pieces of lamb with green chatni cooked in Hyderabadi style), mutton jalfrezi (boneless pieces of lamb cooked in an onion-cashew nut gravy with saffron) and murg masala (chicken pieces cooked with onion-tomato gravy and served with boiled eggs).

The combination of mutton biryani, chicken curry and raita also remain popular, and so do the tandoori dishes of fish, chicken and mutton as starters. Among the vegetarian dishes, haryali shorba, dal amritsari and sarso da saag are the favorites. Some of the restaurants also have veg and non-veg thali on their menus.

The cost of lunch or dinner for two people ranges from 1,000-1,500 rubles (approximately Rs. 1,027-1,541).

“Both my wife and I are great fans of Indian food, especially North Indian cuisines, which are spicier. Twice a month we visit Indian restaurants,” said Reznov, a foodie.

The waiters and the restaurant staff help the foreign guests in choosing from the menu.

“We tell the people how to eat and what to order. For example, we tell them that if you are ordering rice, then curry goes with it or something which has gravy,” said an official of another Indian restaurant in central Moscow.

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