Whenever we find ourselves in the Ueno-Okachimachi area at around lunch time, we almost always see a line outside this tiny Indian restaurant named Delhi. The smell of spices wafting out of this small place are so mouthwatering but the line often makes us default to neighboring noodle shops where we can be immediately seated and served.
One Tuesday morning, we found ourselves outside Delhi just minutes after 11:50 a.m., their opening time. The restaurant was already packed (total 17 seats) and outside, three people were lined up. My partner and I thought that a line of three is pretty manageable so we decided to wait it out and finally find out what the fuss was all about. It wasn't long before the line behind us grew. After a short wait, we were seated at a small table right by the wall and we ordered the first two things on the menu: The Delhi Curry (spice level 1) and the Indian Curry (spice level 3). We did not dare order the Kashmir Curry which was rated a spice level of 5, even though my partner and I both love spicy food. We figured that these two items would be good items to try given that one had the name of the restaurant on it and the other had the "osusume" (recommended) sign on it.
Our meal arrived pretty quickly. As you can see from the photo, it looks unremarkable -- you wouldn't even bother putting this up on Instagram or Facebook. But forget how the curry looks for a second. We dipped our small ladles into the soup. It was watery and not like the usual Japanese curry that's thick. A good sign of authenticity. We tasted the sauces -- both the Delhi Curry and the Indian Curry were spicy enough to make us start sweating and we could see the bits of whole spices that they used. My partner and I have both been to India and we agreed that this is as authentic as it gets. We polished up the rice and curry that transported us back to India.
This Ueno branch of Delhi has been serving authentic Indian curry since 1956 and has been true to founder Toshio Tanaka's intention to bring the delicious curries he has tasted in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to Japan.