date of visit: March 2010
At Eating Adelaide we are keen eaters of curry. One of my complaints while living in Headingley was that there was no decent, nearby curry to be had. In fact, for an area with an above average population of students much of the takeaway food available was depressingly ordinary. Other places I’d lived in the UK had been far kinder and at one stage I’d even lived next door to a curry restaurant. I was such a good customer I never had to pay for naan.
So our hopes were high for Kartees. The vivid orange restaurant is on South Road, right by Flinders Medical Centre. Initial reports (all third hand – via twitter and other sites) sounded promising so we headed off to see for ourselves.
Kartees has a small, basic restaurant attached to what seems to be predominantly a takeaway business. As we waited for our order there were two couples in the restaurant area. The restaurant is licensed and corkage is $5 per bottle (wine only).
The first thing I noticed about the menu was the incongruous appearance of both spring rolls and dim sim amongst the entrées … not exactly what I’d expect at an Indian restaurant.
We skipped entrées in our (massive) order: butter chicken, chicken masala, dhall, pilau rice, a naan and 8 pappadums. This set us back around $40 and was more than enough for two people for dinner and then lunch the next day.
Unfortunately, the quality of the food was all over the place. The pappadums were quite greasy. I actually really enjoy them like this but I recognise that it’s a sign that the oil in which they were cooked was not hot enough. The naan bread was the disappointment of the meal – it was singularly woeful. It was obviously straight from a packet, and was tough, tasteless, and downright scary. I had just a few pieces – and for me to leave carbs is really saying something.
The highlight of the meal was the dhall – you could taste the curry leaves, and it had good flavour and consistency.
And everything else was in between. The chicken curries were (we think) mislabelled … after serious consideration we came to the conclusion that the butter chicken was incredibly bland and, while the chicken masala had more flavour, it was certainly not the ‘hot’ marked on the menu. The real problem with both these dishes was that the large pieces of chicken were very over cooked. They were dry and stringy – even if the sauces had been incredible the meat alone would have rendered the dishes below average.
Andy rated the pilau rice quite highly whereas I remained on the fence … I’m not a big fan of peas in anything so I’m not the best person to pass judgement! The portion was huge and, in addition to the peas and spices, it also came with chicken, so you could actually treat this as a main course.
I really wanted to like Kartees – it’s relatively close to home and good take away curry is worth its weight in gold (well, depending on how tired and hungry you are). But, despite the tasty dhall, the experience fell short. On the one hand, it wasn’t particularly expensive, but on the other, I’m not sure I’m that happy about paying for bland, over cooked chicken. We’ve got a good collection of spices at home and putting together a quick, mid-week curry need not be a performance.
Unfortunately, Kartees hasn’t made it on to our emergency take away food short list.
Uninspiring takeaway curry
While cheap, with generously sized portions, we found the food disappointing. A pass, but only just.
1423D South Road, Bedford Park, SA, 5042
phone 08 8277 0393