Many people have asked me, where the best Indian in Hong Kong is. My answer is usually a grunt or moan. Unfortunately, I have yet to find an Indian restaurant in Hong Kong that I am truly satisfied with, not only for the taste but for the authenticity.
Tulsi has been on my radar for a while, not just for being conveniently located in Sai Ying Pun but also because it had been awarded a Michelin star in 2012 and 2013.
It was a Thursday night and there was absolutely no need to make a reservation as there were only 2 other tables occupied. The layout is slightly puzzling (have the feeling they purchased two restaurants and joined them together) and the décor is hideous (to put it mildly). It almost resembles a bachelor pad, with faux black leather seating and dark paint making the place look unnecessarily dated.
Trying not to judge a book by its cover, I perused the menu. Tulsi offers dinner sets or ‘Happy meals’ for 2 people at 278 HKD and for 4 people at 498 HKD. I had purchased a groupon and asked whether I could redeem this. This offered a set dinner too, however the waiter promptly told me I needed to book this a day in advance. When I asked for some chaat (street food snacks which I had seen on the menu) they said they didn’t have any! My friends ordered the dinner set for 2 and I decided to order a la carte.
Their first dish was the starter platter of samosas, lamb kebab, onion bhaji and tandoori chicken. The best dishes on the plate were the kebabs and the bhaji, Unfortunately, the chicken was not tender enough.
Next, came oysters with curry sauce and a bay leaf. The curry flavour overpowered the oyster which ended up cooking underneath the hot sauce. To our horror, there was a hair sticking in one of the oysters which put us off the dish completely.
For mains, chicken madras and fish curry with plain and truffle naan were put on the table. My a la carte malai kofta and pilau rice also came.
Let’s start with the naan. My friend who when I was asking for comments on the food, could only muster a ‘good’, but for the naan he finally said a bit more- that it was not cooked in a stone oven. Absolutely agreed with him, naan is supposed to be fluffly, slightly buttery and yes cooked in a stone oven. This naan was unfortunately quite chewy and I didn’t understand the truffle naan concept at all. Naan is meant to be used as a tool to pick up the curry, the curry taste would of course overpower it so it’s completely redundant to have such a subtle truffle flavour. Get the basics right first before you start experimenting!
As for the curries, I was extremely underwhelmed. The fish curry had a very strange bitter taste and the chicken curry’s flavours were also not impressive. Also, a few hairs were found in one of these curries.
My malai kofta with pilau rice was probably the dish I enjoyed the most, even though this was also nothing to write home about.
Verdict: Whoever gave this restaurant a Michelin star clearly has never eaten before or perhaps accepted a bribe from the owner. Service is atrocious, hairs found in the food, refusal to give me a set meal purely because I didn’t ‘reserve’ a day in advance and unimpressive food. I will not be coming back to Terrible Tulsi!
Flat/Rm 10-11 Lower G/F Bonham Mansion, 63 Bonham Road, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong Ph: 852 2517 7077
For other locations check: http://www.tulsi.com.hk/cms/Home