Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Indian Territory

"Going for an Indian" is an essential part of a good night out in England. Chicken Tikka Masala has outstripped Fish and Chips as England's national dish and a trek to the local Curry Palace is a common continuation of the evening after being thrown out of the pub when it closes at about the time that most Israelis are only thinking of going out.

Indian food has not taken off in Israel in a big way despite the presence of a decent sized community of Indian Jews. One might have expected that the post army trip to India which is almost a rite of passage for Israeli youth would have lead to an import of the heady mixture of spices which perfume the cooking of the subcontinent in the same way as Thai food has hit the local market in recent years but this has not been the case.

Lapid is not the sort of place that you'd expect to find a top notch restaraunt of any kind let alone an Indian one. Located in the cluster of communities surrounding Modi'in it is certainly not going to attract passing traffic but as Modi'in grows and people look for a place to eat close by other than the pizza places and coffee shops, it will do good business.

Sangam is located in a charming stone building in the entrance to the Yishuv. Staff are polite and welcoming and the service was superb and polite in a way that I rarely experience anywhere - when we had to remind a waiter for one thing his response was so apologetic that I half expected him to commit a ritual suicide in penitence.

A rich and varied menu offers something for everyone including Sushi, Italian and Chinese options as well as shnitzel and chips for kids for whom Tandoori spices aren't so tempting. It's the Indian menu that is the main deal however and it offers a rich choice of meat and vegetarian dishes at reasonable prices.

We opted for a set menu for six. To my mind part of eating Indian is to put everything in the middle and to try a bit of each dish so this solution was optimal. A variety of starters included samosas, chicken wings, potatos deep fried in a chick pea flour batter and Naan breads served with dips; tamarind, coriander-mint and coconut - all excellent. By the end of this round we were already feeling fairly full but then out came the main courses; a series of meats grilled on the skewer including tandoori chicken and some of the best lamb kebabs that I've ever had, delicate rice, meatballs and a sweet potato / onion / pepper dish.

Dessert was mercifully not huge but certainly delicious - deep fried bananas and pineapple and hot chocolate cake, finished off with an excellent cup of Chai tea.

An excellent evening out - It's exceedingly rare that I don't manage to finish off everything on the table but we had enough left for a doggy bag to take home. Highly recommended, particulalry if you're in the are in any case. Book in advance.



Harry said...

One of our favorite places. And one advantage of living in Modiin is that Sangam delivers...

Yael K said...

Note to self: trip to Modiin is now a must! I love Indian food, especially the Kourmas! I even like dishes vindaloo (as in really vindaloo). My mouth is watering!

Gavriel said...

I concur on the food, it was great. My one warning would be to make sure you get really solid directions before taking off, unless you are really familiar with the area. We had a lot of trouble finding it coming from Beit Shemesh because it's very out of the way, and I've heard others have had similar difficulty.

Too bad they don't deliver to Beit Shemesh.