Spice Up Your Travels With A Taste Of India in Winchester, VA

1060 Millwood Pike
Winchester, VA 22602
540-686-7644
Visit the website: Taste of India
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by Danielle Bussone

 

As you must know by now, Rich and I are huge fans of Indian cuisine. Indian food is a perfect fit for plant-based diners with a penchant for robust spice blends and mouth-watering preparations. Indian fare varies from restaurant to restaurant just as it does from region to region within India. This provides us with endless opportunities for exploration of this exotic cuisine as this visit exemplifies. Rich and I are delighted to report on dishes we have not previously encountered.

 

 

 

Yesterday, upon returning from a family affair in Syracuse, NY, we stopped at Winchester, Virginia for a sleepover and a meal. Luckily for us, Taste of India Winchester must have been signaling to us telepathically because our fine-tuned culinary antennae honed in on their transmission and directed us right to their location, just as we finished checking into our room.

 

 

 

 

 

Taste of India is a gorgeous restaurant decked out with large comfortable booths, glass-covered tablecloths, a bar with seating, and a splendid buffet area with free-standing tables and chairs. The buffet is served at lunchtime from 11am to 2:30pm, Tuesdays through Sundays. The restaurant is closed Mondays. The buffet boasts at least three vegan items on the menu at all times. There is also a fourth item that may be either vegan or vegetarian, depending on the day. The bar serves a variety of beers and wines but no hard liquor.

 

 

Buffet Area (Tues-Sun 11am-2:30pm)

 

Bar serves beer and wine

 

The first thing I noticed upon opening the menu, is that there is a separate vegetarian section in which vegan options are clearly listed as VEGAN! As much sense at this makes, it rarely ever happens. I usually have to go through the menu ingredient by ingredient, hassling the waiter with dozens of questions, and still I’m not really sure if I’m getting a truly vegan product. Taste of India Winchester has taken the guesswork out of the equation, with the exception of the appetizer section, where one does still have to ask. That list is not long though, and the staff know what they are doing, so even that is not a problem.

A welcome plate arrived with three types of sauces and a crispy flatbread, almost like a cracker, imbedded with cumin seeds. One of the sauces was a sweet tamarind chutney, the second was a chunky savory mint and cilantro green sauce, and the third a crisp onion condiment with tomato puree and spices. All worthy of recognition!

 

Welcome Plate

 

For starters we shared a combination of two fried dishes which were very similar; a Samosa, a traditional triangular-shaped fritter stuffed with Potatoes Masala and peas, and Aloo Tikki, a similar tasting potato patty dipped in chickpea batter and fried. These were served with another amazing sauce, which is apparently a combination of the three mentioned earlier and with an added layer of something extra.

 

Samosa (left) and Aloo Tikki (right)

 

The store owner and manager, Kamal Khatri, has agreed to share his recipes for these fantastic sauces, which are staples of Indian cuisine. Rich and I will be returning in the coming weeks to do a video of of just how these exquisite flavors are achieved so that you will be able to make them for yourself!

Now on to the main course!

For my entree, I ordered Vegetable Patia, a slightly sweet dish of mixed vegetables stewed in a blend mangos and Indian spices and served with jasmine rice.

 

Vegetable Patia

 

Mattar Mushrooms, a house specialty

 

Rich ordered Mattar Mushrooms, a house specialty of mushrooms and peas in a rich and savory stew, also served with rice. They were perfectly spiced with a melt-in-your-mouth yumminess that is hard to describe. Of course, we shared so we each enjoyed both dishes, which were perfect complements of one another.

 

 

We also enjoyed Poori, a balloon-shaped airy unleavened flatbread that must have been quick fried. It left us licking oil from our fingers from its exterior, while still savoring layers of the soft interior. This was a first for me. While I’m not generally a fan of fried food, once in a while I figure I can indulge.

 

Poori

 

This is a definite two thumbs up for some of the most superb Indian food we have found in recent memory. Taste of India Winchester is located conveniently off I-81 and is a perfect place to stop for lunch or dinner to break your travels whether heading north or south across this great country.

 

Fortunately for us, the impending chutney/sauce/condiment video makes our return a fete accompli. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into some more of the many vegan options on the menu! 

 

Check with us in a month or so when Kamal shows us how to make his marvelous condiments!

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