I first learned about Curry Walla, a new Indian restaurant in North Providence, when an Instagram friend posted a photo of the restaurant’s Tandoori Chicken. I see so many food photos on Instagram, but this one stuck in my mind. Every time I was hungry, my mind would drift to that fiery red chicken. I had to have it.
Curry Walla serves Punjabi cuisine, typical of the northernmost part of India. The menu is enticing and comprehensive. It includes some familiar Indian dishes, like Chicken Tikka Masala, but also others that are harder to find, like Rogan Josh.
We started with a selection from the Street Food menu that was especially fun to eat, Pani Puri. Puri are delicate, hollow puffs of bread. In this dish, you fill them with Pani, a chickpea salsa, then add flavor with a spoonful of tamarind cumin water.
Curry Walla has a full bar. Sure, you could get a Manhattan or a martini, but isn’t mango better? Two of us had giant glasses of mango juice and the other two ordered giant mango lassis, the sweet yoghurt-based beverage. Despite the lack of alcohol, our drinks still had fun cocktail stirrers.
Dinner includes a complimentary papadum, a peppery thin cracker served with zesty tamarind and cilantro sauces. If you prefer fluffy, warm Indian breads, you will find plenty to order as well. We had Tandoori Roti, Garlic Naan, Peshwari Naan, and Paratha. A roti is an unleavened wheat bread usually cooked in a tandoori oven, while naan is yeasted and made with regular flour. Peshwari Naan especially stands out due to the addition of coconut and nuts. I usually don’t seek out shredded coconut, but the texture and light sweetness were so pleasant, I’d certainly order it again. The Paratha, another favorite at our table, is similar to a roti but indulgently fried in butter.
With a plethora of breads on the table, our meal was off to a good start. We shared several entrees. Rogan Josh is a lamb dish with ginger, garlic, and spices. The lamb was tender and the sauce deeply flavorful. The Baigan Bhartha is roasted eggplant mashed with spices, similar to baba ghanoush and just as good to eat with soft bread. Another vegetarian dish, the Bhindi Masala, showcases the often underappreciated vegetable okra, frying it over high heat so it is dry and not slimy. Kadahi Paneer is rich, with cubes of paneer cheese enveloped in a tomato cream sauce that was great over aromatic basmati rice. Last was the Tandoori Chicken, exactly the dish I’d been dreaming about, which proved just as moist and tender as I’d guessed from the photo. We ordered a large platter with leftovers in mind.
We ended our meal with two of the restaurant’s homemade desserts: Ras Malai – silver-dollar-sized cheesecakes – and Gulab Jamun – fried milk-based balls soaked in a sugary syrup.
With so many strong restaurants in the area and a love for cooking at home, it’s rare that I say with certainty that I’ll be returning to a restaurant. But I can tell you, without hesitation, that I’ll be back to Curry Walla. I’ll revisit that Tandoori Chicken and work my way through the rest of their long menu, as well.
Curry Walla Indian Cuisine
1525 Smith Street, North Providence • 354-0090