Chefs blend spices in the kitchen of Handi Cuisine of India, a rainbow of curries mingling with sunset-orange cumin and goldenrod ginger. Inside a clay tandoori oven, dishes simmer, the air shimmering in the heat. Plates laden with prawns and vindaloo clatter onto tables, pouring forth steam like a volcano posing for National Geographic.:
It's no secret why the tandoor is a staple of Indian eateries: the clay oven sears food while sealing in succulent juices and rich flavours. Agra Tandoori Restaurant's variety of traditional dishes puts the cooking device to copious use. Prawns are popped in to soak up hints of ginger and garlic, while lamb marinates overnight in defiance of the chef's lights-out policy. But the tandoor is far from the tool the eatery uses to give its food a distinctive flavour. A tawa griddle sears bone-in chicken. Seasoned eggplant bakes over charcoal. Chilled desserts of falooda kulfi never touch heat at all, instead drizzling rose syrup and pistachios atop a fanciful pileup of ice cream and spaghetti-like noodles. Feasts of all temperatures are served inside Agra's comfortable dining room, where colourful artwork surrounds tables draped in white linen.
Specializing in Northern Indian fare, the kitchen staff at King Mahal Restaurant bakes and fries dishes as they slip between wreaths of steam rising from simmering pots of sauce. As diners settle into tables, they pass hunks of naan or whole-wheat roti and dishfuls of pakoras to busy hands and keep away the shadow puppets that ruined Thanksgiving. Abundant vegetarian entrees parade alongside curries in a rainbow of colours, and cooks roll meats in spices before baking them in a tandoor oven. Piles of rice soak up sauces, and a fountain of mango and lassi beverages help keep tongues cool throughout each repast.