It’s only in the last few years that Indian cuisine has attracted the attention of the international foodie world. In Suzhou however, Indian at the Cross has been serving up exotic curried dishes since 2004, and has long been regarded by the South Asian and Muslim community in Suzhou as one of the more authentic Indian restaurants in the city.
We stopped by for a quick dinner one evening to sample a few dishes and test out the menu. There has been some slight interior redecoration, and the open deck outside is also in the process of a minor makeover. The menu, however, remains similar, and still features many of the fiery foods that earned the outlet its loyal following.
We started with the vegetarian samosas (RMB 35), which were generously-sized and enticingly plump and fragrant. Fried till perfectly crispy on the outside, each samosa was stuffed with a well-seasoned filling of fluffy potatoes, green peas and cashew nuts. Our second appetizer, chicken 65 (RMB 58) was just as satisfying. This was a platter of deep fried chicken pieces, and the meat was tender, juicy and well cooked. What elevated the dish to the next level, though, was the accompanying fiery red sauce of yoghurt, ginger, garlic and other spices.
For our main dishes, we ordered tandoori chicken (4pcs for RMB 60) and Baghdad kebab (RMB 75), which was a dish comprising chunks of chicken breast stuffed with onion and paneer (Indian cottage cheese). Once again, the meats were well-cooked, tender and bursting with juices. However, we felt that while the spices were sufficiently fragrant, both dishes needed seasoning with a lot more salt.
To accompany our mains, we also sampled two sides—veg makani (RMB 45) and a chicken masala (RMB 65). The first was a vegetarian dish of mixed vegetables in butter gravy and the second was yet another chicken dish, but this time in a thick gravy of tomato, onion and cream. These curries were good accompaniments for our freshly-made naan (RMB 18 each), even if they were slightly lacking in flavor.
Indian food is rich, but we were reluctant to leave without trying one of the restaurant’s traditional desserts. Gulab jamun (RMB 25) is a fried pastry in a sweet saffron syrup, and while this was sinfully good on first bite, its intense sweetness meant we were barely able to finish one portion.
Overall, we’d say that Indian at the Cross has some hits and misses. The meats tend to be cooked well, but the dishes are sometimes let down by the cook’s rather light hand with the salt. Even so, the samosas were good enough that we’d be tempted to return again the next time our spice cravings hit.