My good buddy Arianna and I have developed a new and rather silly habit, namely arranging to meet at restaurants that aren’t open. After ending up in the Olive Tree Café Bistro after trying to lunch at Beirut, a few weeks ago, today we were aiming to try Bindi, but upon finding it closed this lunchtime we headed over the road to Kalpna. This was new territory for us both, but we were game for it.
Kalpna has been serving the vegetarian Indian needs in this part of town for many years. It’s a place with which I’ve had a few near misses, with plans to go there that didn’t quite come to fruition on a couple of occasions.
In the evenings, I hear their dosas are the best in the city. At lunchtime they serve a hearty buffet, with a good selection of salads, chutneys, pakoras, bread and rice, sitting alongside three substantial hot dishes.
At the heart of today’s selection was a mushroom curry, an aubergine and green bean curry and a lovely daal.
We modestly piled our plates, in the safe knowledge that we could return as many times as we liked. This isn’t in the territory of all-you-can-eat places. The lunchtime buffet is much more akin to a traditional thali, but one where you can help yourself.
The friendly waiter was on hand at all times to offer assistance, as and when it was required.
Everything I tried (and I think I tried everything) was to a very pleasing standard. The coriander chutney was particularly good, as was the daal. The curries were warmly spiced and gently fragrant, so made for ideal lunchtime fare.
So overall, I was impressed with Kalpna. I look forward to visiting in the evening to try their much vaunted dosas. It was great to catch-up with Arianna, as always, so I look forward to trying to pick somewhere that’s actually open for the next time we meet.
Blythe scores Kalpna
4/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for setting
3.5/5 for service
giving an overall 14.5/20
Today’s questers were: Arianna, Blythe
We ate: lunchtime vegetarian buffet
We drank: water
We wore: smart brown coat; smart blue shirt
Total bill: £16