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Published December 23rd 2015
Papadums on Papanui Road
Indian in Christchurch, on face value, is hardly a needle in a haystack situation....however when it comes to quality, taste and freshness there are two stand out locations, one is Coriander's on St Asaph Street and the second Maharaja Restaurant on Papanui Road.
Maharaja's restaurant is situated just off the main road in a classic villa style house, which has been re-vamped to accommodate a well thought-out dining venue for Christchurch patrons. With ample parking in the back of the vicinity, and a BYO set up, it already sets the wheels in motion for a great evening amongst friends.
Although the look and feel of Maharaja's is quite high-end the service is friendly and efficient which eliminates the pretentiousness that one might feel upon entering this hidden treasure.
I had the pleasure of dining at Maharaja's on my first visit to Christchurch. Upon arrival, my partner and I were seated in one of the rooms that would appear to have been the former lounge room of the house, before it was refurbished into a fully functioning restaurant as it appears today.
The authentic Indian menu is one that incorporates some variations yet is very attentive to its guests in the 'mild-hot' curry department. I also noticed that this particular restaurant served Peshwari naan also, one that I have not since found at any of the other handful of Indian restaurants I have visited. So in my books, this was a complete plus. On top of this epic find was one of their chicken dishes that incorporated the best of two popular curries: the Butter Tikka Masala. As the name suggests, it combines the absolute perfect blend of two of the finest North Indian dishes, butter chicken and tikka masala.This dish gives a nice variation for those looking to upgrade from their regular staple of Butter Chicken.
It wasn't too difficult to pick a winning dish and sides, as Maharaja has not been given a Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor for no reason. My partner aimed to satisfy his pallate with the Butter Tikka Masala and a Garlic Naan, whilst I went for the Lamb Curry and a Peshwari Naan. Of course we had to order starters too so on this front Onion Bhaji's and Lamb Chop Nawabi (which are a speciality of the house and is made with lamb that is marinated in yoghurt and spices overnight and roasted to perfection in the tandoor oven).
The time it took for us both to finish our order receive our bottle of wine and for the entrees to appear on our table was quite impressive. Followed on completion by the mains, it was easy to see why service is rated highly at this establishment.
The starters were divine with crispy bhaji's and succulent lamb. The mains came out in well spiced, appropriate sized portions along with the various naan breads which were warm and flavoursome. All in all a massive win for prime curry-night venue with reasonably priced menu items, BYO and friendly service.
If you can only pick one Indian restaurant to visit in Christchurch then this one would have to be up there to take the cake. Head over and see what all the fuss is about.