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Kashmir: An austere setting for a flamboyant curry

by

Special To The Japan Times

Let’s start on the street. That’s where I waited in line for an hour before moving to a dark, narrow hallway for another hour of waiting. At infrequent intervals the door to Kashmir would open, allowing in customers and expelling the spicy aromas from within.

I don’t possess the Japanese ability to wait in (or even enjoy) a line — I’m so impatient, I was born within a week of conception. But Kashmir is one of the best curry houses in Osaka, and the aromas and curiosity kept me waiting.

Kashmir is staffed by one chef; we didn’t have time for chit-chat because he’s understandably busy and patrons are understandably hungry. The restaurant is basic: one counter, eight seats. It’s more like a dingy garage. The menu is an aged, grubby handwritten poster on the wall. Most dishes are priced around ¥1,000. I went with mutton curry, which is an uncommon meat outside of some Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern restaurants here. Orders are made more or less from scratch, hence the long wait. If the tender bite-sized chunks of mutton are anything to go by, then Kashmir has a good line on meat, although a few more pieces would have been appreciated. However, it’s the electric combination of spices — fennel, cardamom and coriander seeds, cumin, ginger and garlic —that brings the crowds and keeps them waiting.

If only Kashmir did deliveries.