It's a bold claim, but I'll make it: Yash Indian Cuisine is the best Indian takeaway in the CBD, and one of the best-value eateries of its kind in Brisbane. I've dined at Yash on and off for more than five years, and tried other similar establishments, and not found any that can beat its food or prices.
Tucked away in the food court in Broadway on the Mall, Yash serves up a range of tasty, freshly made curries seven days a week (and has been for more than eight years). On my last visit, they were offering beef vindaloo, lamb roganjosh, butter chicken, tandoori chicken, chicken madras, vegetable madras, vegetable khorma, pumpkin and spinach curry and dal makhani. Most of these are available most days, with slight changes on occasion (for example, they sometimes serve a very interesting vegetarian curry that features vada or spiced lentil cakes).
I've tried all of the mild curries (yes, I'm a chilli-wuss), and enjoyed them all. I'm particularly fond of the vegetable madras, and the creamy, sweet flavours of the pumpkin and spinach curry. Every curry I've tasted has had a rich, flavoursome sauce (unlike the watery offerings I've endured at some other quicky Indian outlets), and fresh, aromatic herbs and spices. Yash also doesn't over-do it on the grease factor.
My lunch -- regular vegetable madras with pumpkin & spinach curry
The prices are remarkably low for such good food, whether you take a plate to a table in the food court, or a container back to the office for lunch. A regular serve of two vegetarian curries is only $5.95, while a large serve is $8.50. Add an extra dollar to that if you want to buy one meat and one vegetarian curry (regular $6.95, large $9.50), and one more if you'd like two meat curries (regular $7.95, large $10.50). Unlike many places offering 'price per plate' deals, Yash provides fairly generous servings, and I am always full after eating a regular serve, especially if I get a naan bread or a lassi (yoghurt drink) to go with it.
Yash also offers the usual deep-fried pappadums, pakoras, and samosas (ranging in price from $1-$2.20 each), as well as some more unusual snacks. On my last visit I tried a kachori (a flaky pastry stuffed with lentils) and thoroughly enjoyed its mild flavour and buttery texture. Another interesting offering that I haven't tried are the vadas -- savoury lentil doughnuts that I suspect are more spicy than my very innocent kachori.
Which brings me to a crucial point for lovers of Indian food: just how spicy are the offerings at Yash? I can't answer this question from personal experience, given that I avoid anything marked as more than 'one chilli' hot. But I do have a fire-eating friend who has dined there with me. He reports that the beef vindaloo is the only one he regards as 'really hot', but the other dishes marked as 'two chilli' or 'three chilli' are still 'good'.
Food court eateries are not at the glamour end of the 'dining out' spectrum, but the reality is that many of us eat their food far more than we dine in fine restaurants. Yash serves tasty, affordable food every day, with some interesting touches.
Among the city's sea of franchised food outlets, it's an individual worth seeking out.