The One With The Clay Oven – Indian Cuisine In Kennedy Town

The moment I walked into The Clay Oven, I knew I was in for a truly authentic Indian experience.

From the music, the wallpaper, the cutleries, the lighting, the menu downright to the table mat, everything was screaming Indian but in a very understated, laid-back, almost char chan teng way. The menu was extensive, and it was obvious The Clay Oven is popular amongst the locals and foreigners, many of whom seem to be very at home with the waitresses.

I was all ready to be spiced out for the night, so when the waitress served the starter without being prompted, I dug right in.

The Clay Oven

The masala popadam, without a doubt, was the best dish of the night. A large piece of crispy popadam topped up pizza-like with onions, chopped mint leaves, cherry tomatoes and cabbages. With a dash of lemon juice somewhere (I can’t tell, for the popadam remained crispy throughout the five minutes it spent on the table), it was a refreshing start to the dinner and got my appetite going.

The Clay Oven

Because we were an indecisive bunch, we opted for the no-brainer mixed tandoori grill, consisting of chicken, fish fillet, mutton and beef. Everything was done to the right degree without overpowering, though I would have loved my meat to be a tad spicier. The mutton was exceptionally well done, but that’s probably because I enjoyed that thick layer of lamb fat much more than I ought to. We polished off the whole plate.

The Clay Oven

We also had the Clay Oven’s Specialgrilled South Korean fresh water fish. This thread fin fish was supposedly thicker than your average Chinese fish, hence the trick to enjoy this is to eat while is hot, with its charred bits still burning. The waitress was damn right – the fish was fresh and juicy, but once it became cold the flesh became tepid and unwelcoming. Perhaps the owner (a polite gentleman by the name of Prem) was worried that these two Chinese boys can’t take their chillies, his chef was quite underhanded with the overall fieriness of his dishes. For this grilled fish, however, I would say – “bring it on!” but alas.

The Clay Oven

The chicken korma (cream chicken) was underwhelming. I was expecting something nuttiliciously rich, but the dish turned out to inexplicably creamy, with unexpected chunks of sweet pineapple. Probably the oddest dish of the night. The pullau (basmati) rice was dry as it should be, but because we didn’t order any curry (errr… it was just one of those things that happened), the rice didn’t went down too well either.

The Clay Oven

Our luck turned again for the better with baigan bharta – a delightful dish of mashed eggplants with herbs and (of course) chillies! Relatively speaking it was the spiciest dish of the night, and went down well with the steamy poori.

The Clay Oven

A word about poori. The last time I had this must have been when I was sixteen. Back then, I remember poori as buttery and crispy, as opposed to this soft, steaming piece of half-a-bun. And I meant it in a good way, though I do crave for the good, old poori.

The Clay Oven

Needless to say by the end of the meal we were stuffed to the brim, and when it comes to Indian food with its abundant spices this could spell trouble a few hours down the road. So Mr. Prem kindly offered us Indian milk tea – masala tea with spices, such as ginger, fennel and cinnamon. It was said to be the perfect cure for gas (!) and indigestion, and as I write this, I concur.

The Clay Oven

We were also offered these platter of dessert of unknown ingredients as the close of our meal. Though I asked about how to eat this (just eat bits of each with the candies), I was none the wiser and left the restaurant a little perplexed, more than mere contented and happily swinging my leftover poori.

If only every night out eating Indian food is like this, life would be charmed indeed.

Clay Oven Indian Restaurant
Shop A, G/F, 27-31 Catchick Street
Kennedy Town, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 28726900, 94203094
E-mail: clayoven@hotmail.com
www.theclayoven.com.hk


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