Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Review: Koh-i-Noor

Six of us went to Koh-i-Noor tonight and were very impressed with the restaurant. Lovely artwork of Indian wildlife and mythology, some of it touched with gold leaf. This is a Northern Indian restaurant and had some different things that what we've seen before, as well as favorites. Among the things we ordered ...


Mango lassi -- a drink made with fruit and yogurt, an old favorite and quite well done.

Samosas -- better than most I've had, although I'm not a fan of these things.

Shrimp pakoras -- nicely fried shrimp with delicate and flavorful spices, definitely better than usual.

Fish tikka -- delicate flaky hunks of some white fish with delicious spices. This is the first Indian fish dish that I have really liked, and it was somebody else's recommendation or I never would've tried it. <3 new favorite.


We bought three specialty breads and nearly finished all of them. We should have split the entrees between rice and naan like we usually do, but we thought three extras would be enough. Hah. No.

Jaipuri Naan -- like Kashmiri naan, stuffed with candied fruit and nuts, a very nice rendition of an old favorite.

Bhatoora -- deep-fried leavened bread, this is the best if you want a carrier for sauces or spreads. We devoured it quickly because we had gotten a mashed eggplant dish and dal makhani. So, I like East Indian fry bread as well as American Indian fry bread. \o/ Next time we'll get two if we have six people. One might be enough for four of us.

Chili naan -- flat bread stuffed with bright green chili peppers. I didn't eat this, because I don't like hot things, but it was a hit with the hot-food fans. If you like peppers, definitely try it.


We got several entrees. They turned out to be all the same reddish-brown color, which made it challenging to distinguish them. Often one will be more yellow or green or brown or red. But they were all good.

Aloo mutter -- mostly peas and curry sauce with a few potato chunks. I think I missed this one, but other folks said it was good.

Baingan bharta -- mashed eggplant blended with onion, tomato, and peas. This is a thick paste that is delicious on the fry bread. You could basically get those two things and have a nice vegetarian lunch.

Dal makhani -- spiced black lentils in a creamy tomato curry sauce, very good on the fry bread. Definitely one of the best performances we've had, and this is a favorite dish. We skimped on eating it at the restaurant, planning to put it on hot dogs for lunch tomorrow. :D Likely to become a regular order.

Mushroom chicken ginger masala -- I haven't seen this before, and it's a new favorite. Unlike most curries which are chunks of something swimming in a lot of sauce, this one is mostly small chunks of chicken and mushrooms in a little sauce.

Lamb korma -- chunks of lamb in a creamy curry sauce, mild and very tender. An old favorite, we get this a lot.


These were decent, but not as spectacular as the earlier dishes.

Gulab jamun -- two little balls, similar to donut holes, soaked in sweet syrup. This is what I usually get if I'm not going for khulfi.

Kheer -- rice pudding, here a very wet version.

And don't miss the dish of fennel seeds on the way out, it's how you know you're in a real Indian restaurant and not a shoddy American knockoff.

All this and affordable pricing too; this was probably the best bang-for-buck that we've gotten at an Indian restaurants. The ones that are really good tend to be pricey. Five stars. Eat there if you're in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. It will appeal to fans of Indian food, but there are enough mild dishes to make this a good place for people unfamiliar with the cuisine. Trevor and I have decided this is where we want to eat for our shared birthday in April. :D Most highly recommended.
Tags: ethnic studies, food, illinois, personal

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