People Get Ready, There’s A Train A Comin’ - The Reykjavik Grapevine

People Get Ready, There’s A Train A Comin’

Words by
Main photo by
Alisa Kalyanova

Published March 4, 2014

Hraðlestin

Lækjargata 8, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Mon- Fri 11:30- 22:00, Sat-Sun 17- 22
What we think
Westernized Indian.
Flavour
Mild, balanced.
Ambiance
Laid back.
Service
Friendly and professional.
Price for 2
8000 ISK (a steal)

Hraðlestin is a chain serving a westernized version of Indian food. It started as a single take-away restaurant on Hverfisgata called Austurlandahraðlestin (essentially a translation of East-Indian Express, which does not exist in real life as far as I know). They now have four locations —the most presentable one located on Lækjargata— that offer a place to sit down in addition to their original take-away arrangement. Today, Hraðlestin could be considered a younger sibling to Austur-Indíafélagið, being a less expensive alternative to the more established Indian restaurant on Hverfisgata.

My companion and I came in on a Friday evening. Hraðlestin does not take reservations, but I was informed that I would not have to worry – if there would be any wait, it would be short and sweet, which was the case. The menu is colourful and simple, a bit “dineresque” even. It consists of three starters, nine main courses and various accompaniments, typical westernised Indian food dishes, such as Samosa-pockets, Tandoori-lamb/chicken, Madras-chicken etc.

My companion and I settled upon “Special offer 3,” which seemed to be what everyone else in the dining room was ordering. When in Rome and all that. For a mere 2,495 ISK per person, we got a bunch of food. The deep fried Onion Pakoda was delicious, crunchy and flavourful, served with coriander chutney, which was lovely. Plenty of naan-breads were also served, which is really difficult to mess up, and they didn’t. The raita (mint-cucumber-garlic dip) could have been a bit more flavourful, but was of a nice consistency.

The main dishes were Chicken Tikka Masala and Lamb Kurma. The Tikka Masala was very nice. The chicken was perfectly cooked and not too dry at all. The sauce was well balanced, fragrant and of a lovely consistency. It was a bit lacking in spice in my opinion, but then Chicken Tikka is not known for its “explosive” elements anyway. All in all, it was a fine dish. Here the naan-bread and Onion Pakoda came in handy to soak up the sauce. The Lamb Kurma was a bit of disappointment. The sauce was nice, although I must make a claim for more spice – as it is stated on the menu that the dish is supposed to be hot. The raita was essentially just sitting there, useless, as there was never any need for cooling. That was not the main problem though. The lamb was simply too dry. When broken up, it was of a very unappealing, grey colour.

That said, the visit still made for a nice experience. A friendly staff presented the dishes very well and, in general, the food was good, save for the lamb. The atmosphere is laid back, in fact perfect for going out with a bunch of friends to have a taste of various exotic dishes (as far as “exotic” goes in our postmodern society). The portions are generous, so there is no need to worry about leaving the place wanting more. It should also be noted that not only is the food quite fairly priced, but also the drinks! Cheers!

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