Eating Out With Kids: Amul India Dishes Impress With Layers of Flavor
This Northwest Columbus gem serves up authentic and delicious cuisine.
Melissa Kossler Dutton and her sons, Nick, 16, and Alex, 14, ventured to Amul India in Northwest Columbus, which specializes in North Indian cuisine.
Eating out has always been an adventure for our family. While we have a few favorite spots, we mostly spend our dining-out budget trying new restaurants and exploring all the great flavors our food-obsessed city has to offer. Like many families, the pandemic has really crimped our style. We’ve been trying to prepare more diverse food at home with mixed success.
For this review, we decided to find an authentic Indian restaurant because the food is not something we can easily make at home. On the recommendation of a friend from India, we tried Amul India on the Northwest Side—a bit far from home but, as we learned, well worth the drive.
My favorite Indian dish, matar paneer, is not something I would ever attempt to prepare. The key ingredient, paneer, is an Indian cheese that I’ve never cooked with, complemented by a rich sauce that seems difficult to replicate at home.
I was excited to find it on the menu at Amul India and also to learn that it was prepared without nuts. (Some restaurants add cashews to the recipe, making it off-limits for Nick and me since we have nut allergies.) The sauce makes or breaks this dish because the only other ingredients are cheese and peas. Amul India’s matar paneer ($11.99) was rich and aromatic, a lovely blend of familiar Indian flavors that elevate a basic dish that is anything but.
Amul India’s chicken tandoori, which Alex ordered and I made sure to sample, was another fantastic dish. Again, the spice mixture was delicious. It had layers of flavor that set it apart from the way other restaurants prepare it.
When I heard we were going to try an Indian restaurant, I was excited because it’s not something we have very often and I really like it. We started by sharing an order of vegetable samosas ($3.99), which were crispy on the outside and delicious on the inside.
For me, what stood out was the trio of sauces that were served with the appetizer. Most times I have eaten samosas, the sauces were just OK, but at Amul India that was not the case. The sauces were wonderful and so different in flavor it was hard to pick a favorite. The minty green chutney was very fresh and created a great contrast to the samosas’ starchy breading and potatoes. The brown tamarind sauce was sweet and rich and also paired well with the fried samosa. Last but certainly not least was red chutney that was full of onions and spices. It added crunch and flavor to the samosas.
After sampling the appetizer, I was really looking forward to my main course, chicken curry ($12.99). I was not disappointed. The only Indian meal I enjoyed more was one prepared by a friend of the family who was born in India. The curry sauce was buttery, with just the right amount of heat. The chicken was tender and there were no fatty or gummy bites. This dish did not include vegetables, which was OK by me. It was a large portion, and I had some left over for lunch the next day.
I also ordered the special tea ($2.99). This cardamom-spiced black tea came with milk already in it. The tea had a bitter flavor, but the sweet undertone kept it from being overwhelming. I would definitely order it again.
Overall, I was extremely happy with the food. It’s a little far from our house but I’d go back in heartbeat.
I was eager to check out Amul India because I love Indian food and we have never before reviewed an Indian restaurant. Every time I go to an Indian restaurant, I order tandoori chicken because I love the lemony flavor. The entrée is cooked in a special oven that results in lean, tender pieces of meat. It’s typically flavored with yogurt, lemon and spices and is usually served with onions and peppers.
Amul India’s chicken tandoori ($11.99), as they call it, was fabulous. It arrived sizzling hot on a platter. It was far saucier than any other place I’ve tried, creating a flavor reminiscent of chicken wings, which is not normally the case. It was a welcome change. The flavor came from the lemony marinade combined with a great spice mix, which formed a delicious coating on the meat.
I ordered a mango lassi ($3.99) to drink. It was like nothing I had ever tried before. It had a thick syrupy texture. It tasted of fresh mangos with a hint of yogurt. It was delicious. The drink came in a large glass. In fact, all of the portions were generous.
Indian bread, naan, is a must-order at any restaurant. It’s one of my favorite things about ordering Indian. I love the rich, slightly charred taste of this crispy, thin bread, and Amul India nailed it. Their naan ($2.99) was also heftier than others I’ve tried, which totally worked for me. The more naan, the better.
If you have a hankering for Indian food or a desire to try something new, check this place out.
This story is from the Spring 2021 issue of Columbus Parent.
5871 Sawmill Road, Northwest Columbus; 614-734-1600
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5-10:30 p.m. Fridays; 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5-10:30 p.m. Saturdays; and 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5-9:30 p.m. Sundays
Prices: Entrées, which include chicken, lamb, seafood and vegetarian options, range from $10.99 to $15.99. A variety of appetizers are offered, costing $3.49 to $10.99.
Mom: Matar paneer
Nick: Chicken curry
Alex: Chicken tandoori