During my college years, I had the chance to study abroad at the University of South Australia in Adelaide, South Australia. Upon arrival, myself and two other international students were shuttled off to the residential building of the Royal Adelaide Hospital in downtown Adelaide. Confused at first, I realized that there were a number of international students housed at the RAH (rah rah, siss boom bah!) and settled into my temporary digs. Every day, without miss, around lunch and dinner, the pleasing smell of curry, coconut, and chutney would float through the hallways. With many of the international students hailing from India and the like, the kitchens were always aflutter with activity and memorable scents. After a while, however, the smells began to wear out their welcome and I avoided every Indian restaurant I could.
Luckily, I can happily say that the smells at Portland’s Vindalho are less overbearing and more complimentary than the smells at the RAH, much like the mango in my Laughing Buddha Mango Weizen. A wonderful stop in the city’s Clinton neighborhood, Vindalho is a comforting and classy take on an old standby, from the modern design of the dining room to the divine menu options.
I absolutely had memories of the RAH in my head when I arrived, but the scents were marvelous and the food was even better! With the menu touted as modern Indian ‘spice route cuisine’, I was hoping for more than your standard Chicken Tikka Masala – and was definitely not disappointed. For starters, a wonderful papadum with a tamarind and date chutney arrived at my table along with my mango weizen, and I was immediately smitten. The South Indian Carrot Soup, with it’s savory mix of Indian spices, had me in heaven. For a main dish, I picked the Jhinga Prawns and watched as the prawns were seasoned in a chile, ginger, and herb marinade and hung on a skewer to cook above the grill. When the dish was presented with a pyramid of yummy Basmati rice, I was thoroughly impressed with the perfectly cooked prawns, as most restaurants tend to overcook. As I tried to polish off the Garlic-stuffed Naan on a full stomach (which, as a die-hard garlic lover, could really use a bit more garlic) I noticed the restaurant filling up and took my exit cue before I made it to the dessert options.
If you’re in the Portland area and looking for something more than your standard Indian food, I highly recommend visiting Vindalho. They have a mouthwatering full menu, and their fantastic Happy Hour menu features a ‘Five at Five’, where you can get a number of their best munchies for $5 or less. The cocktail menu isn’t too shabby either – definitely check out the Mango Weizen!
2038 SE Clinton Street
Portland, Oregon 97202