I have to admit, Gentle reader, to more than a strong aversion to overly spiced food - particularly the type one normally encounters in English pubs or Indian chain restaurants here in Tokyo. "Methinks the kitchen doth protest too much!" is my standard response.
So you can imagine my trepidation when I was ordered by the Child Bride to appear at Delhi [Map] to join some long-standing Japanese friends of hers for a real "Indian" dinner. Summoned, and enjoined to "behave", I accompanied her and the Princess there on a recent Sunday evening. The restaurant was packed to the rafters, and the only way we avoided a wait was that our Host has been a twice-a-week regular for more than 30 years in that particularly lovely Japanese style of loyalty.
I further admit to being a huge fan of Kingfisher beer, and so my curiosity was whetted when I saw it prominently featured on the drinks menu. "At least I can get quietly sozzled!", I thought. The host proceeded to order a dizzying array of dishes, and I steeled my wavering nerve and quietened my quivering stomach.
Delhi is a rare exception to White's Law of Spicy Food. From the opening Samoza through the curried cauliflower, the foxtrot through the Tandoori chicken and Lamb Korma, and the plunge into the Tomato salad and the Buttered Chicken - Delhi knows how to prepare great ingredients in a sensitive and subtle way that never threatens the diner but allows him or her to explore new territory.
Don't be mistaken - this is not some swarmy, plush high-end restaurant. Delhi is a matter-of-fact, honest eatery that has been a feature in Ginza for more than 50 years. Prices are better than reasonable. The wine list is adequate, but ample. The service is sometimes under pressure, but the smiles are genuine and the friendliness sincere.
Thomas, our guide, spoke both excellent English and Japanese. Perhaps it's his engaging manner, or perhaps it's the great food, but I have a feeling that this will not be the last time I venture to brave Delhi in Ginza. For what it's worth, affectiandos tell me that the other two venues (Midtown, Ueno) are not a patch on the "honten".
Rating: Food: 7/10; Beer: 7/10; Ambiance: 6/10; Service: 8/10; Price ($): 7/10. Total: 35/50
Delhi (Japanese only) [Map]: 3rd Fl., Nishi Ginza Bldg., 6-3-11, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. Tel: 03-3571-7895