Soho undoubtedly has the most endearing and “personal favourite” restaurants and bars in Hong Kong. They have their regular patrons who visit them often and love to being their friends and relatives from out of town to share a piece of their life.
Guru is one of these charming establishments that serves Indian food in a chic, casual way. The decor is minimal arty with a few oil paintings and framed photographs hanging around, giving the art lovers something to talk about as they wait for their food. There is a little area at the entrance where you can sit and enjoy a shisha while watching early Lan Kwai Fong revellers stumble, walking up SoHo in their stilettoes.
The menu ranges from usual, the regional and the experimental:
The Usual: These are the dishes that you will find in most Indian restaurants in Hong Kong. Some of the ones we tasted fared quite well.
Makhani Chicken (Butter Chicken): This is cubes of Tandoori grilled chicken breast strips in creamed tomato and butter sauce. The curry is just what it is supposed to be, mild, slightly sweet and rich. The dish sticks to its roots and delivers. Lamb Sagwala (pieces of lamb cooked in spinach puree) is also a very popular North Indian dish. The lamb is tender and absorbs the spices in the spinach puree well. Again, a great dish done well. Served along the main was Makhani Dal (Slow cooked black lentil), it’s rich and creamy and goes well with the naan (plain leavened bread).
The Regional: Many restaurants bring a little regional delicacies into their menu, so this is what makes the restaurant stand out a little more than the rest. Manglorian Fish Pot (Tandoori grilled fish cubes made in Mangalorean sauce) is a regional dish from the port city of Mangalore in the “Karnataka” state of Southern India. The fish was fresh and delicate, the curry full flavoured with mustard seeds and a tangy finish. The Chilli Paneer and Vegetable Manchurian, both of the “Indo-Chinese” category are very popular in the Metro cities of India. The paneer may have been slightly overcooked but the fiery and zesty sauce more than made up for it and the same can be said about the Manchurian. The dish that stood out the most was the Chicken Momo. It’s like a Himalayan version of steamed chicken wonton. It’s succulent and served with a peppery Szechuan chutney (tip: use hands to eat the dish, as you would want to savour the jus inside the momo). People familiar with these dishes from their time in India would certainly have flashbacks.
The experimental: These are the dishes that take the restaurant to another level above its peers and bring out the true character of the restaurant.
The Blue Mango Chaat is served as an appetizer and its a delicious way to start your feast. Luscious cubes of mango and whole wheat crisps are served with sweetened yogurt, mint and tamarind. Then, there is the Guru’s tofu tomatoes and berry lamb pulao, both of which are unique in the combinations of flavours and ingredients they use, the latter although inspired from a Mumbai restaurant menu (stated honestly in the menu). It’s still something that is very modern.
The drinks are mostly the usual fare with some tweaks here and there. The service is pleasant and non-intrusive. The food is healthy (as healthy as Indian food can get), as they use olive oil for cooking. Any restaurant which is owned and managed by the owner (Mr. Karki at Guru) has to be an extension of the owner’s character, and going by that norm, Mr. Karki seems to be a warm, gentle, cultured and a suave person.
Guru, Indian Restaurant in Hong Kong | No 13 Lower Elgin Street, Soho, Central, Hong Kong. For reservations – 2547 9998 , 6271 5719