Travelling in European countries naturally create an urge to connect with one’s roots. What better way to satiate this urge than to bask in the warmth of an Indian ambiance? I am very particular about experiencing the essence of a place but it had been a week long sojourn in Vienna where I and my husband had indulged only in European food, European culture, and European arts extensively.
We were scheduled to attend an arts exhibition later in the day and so decided on a quick road side café lunch. As I bit into the juicy steak sandwich, I thought that we strongly needed an Indian reconnect. While munching on the fresh bowl of salad and drowning it with sips of fresh juice I proposed to my husband that we treat ‘our starved Indian taste buds’ to some home food for dinner.
Post exhibition we went out in the chilly evening air. We took a tram to a place called ‘The Indien Village’ in Rockhgasse 3.Seating myself inside the golden lit, warm tram, I looked out the window at the cold night longing for a hot dinner.
As we reached Rockghasse, we got off the tram and walked a little distance from the tram station to reach the place. The night was chilly and as we walked the cold winds cut at our face and hands. The light drizzle that occasionally fell added to the cold of the blowing winds. Starved and cold, my desire to relish just a bite of warm familiar food burnt even stronger.
A little later we found ourselves in front of ‘The Indien Village.’ It had a humble entrance. Stepping inside I saw that the walls on either sides were adorned with painted scenes of a traditional Indian village. It was beautiful. Simple but beautiful and complete. What made this even more pleasant was the fact that it was hand painted and was not some poster stuck on the wall.
As we stepped down the stairs towards the main dining area we saw that the restaurant was done up in the form of a village hut. The windows resembled those of traditional huts. Tiny and colourful. The place was dimly lit. The huge bar in the center immediately caught my attention! The place resonated with deep laughter and jovial conversations. A mix of Europeans who were a majority and some Indians filled the space.
We found ourselves a cosy corner away from the crowd. The table where we sat had a little window, decorated and colourful. The red curtains added to the vibrancy of the windows. The tiny flower vase and the flickering candle placed on each table created the most romantic environment I could imagine. As I seated myself, I was aware for the first time of the soft Bollywood romantic numbers playing in the background. The music was so set that it did not hamper the interesting exchange of conversations of dining customers, while still resonating the ambiance with the spirit of the song.
It seemed like a family run restaurant and had all the hospitality of an Indian home. A woman with the friendliest smile took our orders. We stuck to the safest deal, of Butter Chicken, Tandoori Roti and some Indian starters. We did not want to experiment here because we had earlier ordered ‘Exotic’ Indian food elsewhere and found that it was tailor made to suit the local taste, for business purpose. But I believe a dish, if it loses its essence, loses its identity and therefore, its taste.
The piping hot food arrived and to our pleasure was done the authentic way. We spent a long time relishing in the hot food to the last bite. Our conversations were punctuated only with laughter, some romantically charged Bollywood music and morsels of tasty food. The raw onions and chilly that accompanied the dinner gave it the perfect Indian touch.
While we were paying the bill I saw that the counter had a stock of sandalwood incense, home-made pickles and jams. I complimented the owner at the great job that she was doing. As we made our way out of the restaurant I gave a second look at the place hoping to come back again. We went out in the chilly night air but this time warm and satiated with the beautiful Indian dining experience.