When we stepped into Rangoli on a Sunday afternoon, we were the only customers, an effect that beats upon itself in a spacious restaurant creating a sense of loneliness. You wonder whether this is the right place to eat, but the piped music by Kailash Kher and Rabbi brings you back in.
Rangoli has conventional menus (for the buffet), good quality food, the authentic use of spices, and a refreshing home cooked feel. There is some culinary liberty that it takes, but uses to good effect—the dosas (a South Indian dish), as my friend A stated, tasted like good “North Indian” dosas.
We had the buffet. It had variety-- several meat, chicken and vegetarian dishes as entrees and kebabs, potato vadas and “self-help” chat as starters. The chat ingredients were incomplete and the result amateurish. The lamb kebabs had fresh tasting spices, though they were a tad dry, not uncommon for a buffet.
Most fish is overcooked in Indian eateries, for Indian restaurateurs have collectively discovered a new method of synthesizing rubber that does not depend upon the sap of trees. The fish at Rangoli was cooked beyond recognition and I would recommend avoiding it. The veteran lamb “rogan josh” was a winner, with the use of good, tender, meat that indicates this place did not try to cut costs in the wrong places. The winners here were the vegetarian dishes—when a unique dish emerges, such as the dry shredded cabbage stir fried with mustard seeds in South Indian style, curiously named “Bollywood Sweet 16”, you go for seconds and thirds. Our hats off as well to the gajjar ka halwa (my North Indian readers will forgive the lapse over a Bengali’s misuse of ka or ki), a sort of carrot roux that is more solid than liquid—grated carrot cooked with ghee (type of clarified butter), milk and sugar. It was not too sweet, nor floating in ghee and we settled our lunch in at the end, over refills of this classic dish, washing it down with tea.