Japanese food is great but sometimes you just want something different. In rural Japan, you can find Italian and Chinese but really good Indian can be hard to come by. That night I was going to be meeting with a friend and couldn’t decide on what to eat. But while I was driving through downtown Nakatsugawa on my way to the train station and noticed the the newly opened Royal Nan House. I called my friend and we decided that we were going Indian.
Until now, if I wanted real Indian food, I would have to try 30-minutes south to Ena City to eat at the original Nan House but with one in Nakatsugawa, I could save the gas. Unlike its Ena sister spot which is located on the busy route 19, this one is located only five minutes from Nakatsugawa station by foot making it ideal as my dinner choice.
The entrance looks a little shady and worn but once inside, we were presented with a comfortable, clean, wonderfully warm lighted interior. Four-person tables in small low walled “rooms” help to break up the space and provide a little privacy. On the far side there were several tatami mats with tables that can seat six people. Though the restaurant can serve about 50 people, the layout made it all very cozy and comfortable.
We chose a table in one of the little “rooms”. The table was not a standard height but somewhere between a tatami table and a regular dining table. When I crossed my legs, my knees were level to the table top which made me feel taller than 165cm. Though odd at first, it was not uncomfortable but actually quite the right height for eating.
When it came time to order, we did not have to say “sumimasen” but just lifted our head and the waiter was there. We ordered simple dinner sets which included soup, tandoori chicken, salad, curry, drink and as many of their enormous nan as you can eat. Curry comes in many favors and in five different heats; mild, hot, very hot, super hot and very super hot. I chose a hot chicken curry.
The soup came out first served in a small cup followed by the tandoori chicken on a very hot skillet. It was so tender and roasted so well it crumbled with a gentle press of my fork. The soup was vegetable and complimented the chicken very nicely.
Next was the mango lassie, one of my favorite flavors. My friend requested a banana lassie which cost extra as it is not a standard drink of the set. The waiter not only let my friend have the banana lassie but said, “today we will give it to you no extra charge. Next time...you have to pay extra.” Sweeet. The lassie was perfect for cleaning the palate before the curry arrived.
The curry came in a small bowl with yogurt garnished in the shape of a heart. Then came the nan. I had expected nan about the size of a shoe but what came was the length of my arm! I dove in with the nan and when it was almost gone, the chef came over and asked “More nan? It is a service.” Great! So we got one more piece and split it to eat the rest of our curry.
We had arrived at 6:00 and had slowly made our way through this meal, chatting about life without feeling pressure to leave or order more. Around 8:30 we finally got up to pay. For all we ate it cost ¥1800. That was a deal for such good filling Indian food.
Next time, I think I might visit the Royan Nan House in Nakatsguawa for a lunch spot.