Finally, an Indian restaurant not afraid to add flavor. Swad offers a modest environment (to say the least), very reasonable prices (can't refute that when I got stuffed for $10.77), and a menu restricted to vegetarian food (but who has to eat meat every meal). After so many Indian food disappointments in Austin, there is Swad... I really like it
Went three times over last two months, and had the thali combo-platter each dinner, while my wife had a masala dosa once. Thali was great on two of the three visits. Very flavorful, great contrasts, substantial portion. Hopefully the thali on the failing night was due to the burden of a large party of 15 people (capacity is probably 30!).
At Swad, about 8 small metal bowls comprise the thali. The selection changes slightly. Last night, one of the the absolute winners was the potato masala, a relative to the famed chicken masala, except this time at this restaurant it was very flavorful and without a trace of Campbell's soup. (The Clay Pit killed this dish with too much vinegar and Bombay Bistro's version was too tomato-like.) The two other standout dishes were the spinach with chick peas which had some heat and a Gujarati kadhi soup, which provided a fabulous, palate elevating contrast to all the other dishes. There also was a pleasing, basic lentil dahl, a sweet yogurt raita, bowl of rice and, the only disappointments: a bland selection of fruit and a weird mango paste dessert.
The breads that accompany the thali were 4 huge poori breads, a crispy pappadum and two fried pakora balls which resembled falafel. The pakora were dry and should have been served with tamarind sauce and a chutney. But I was so in awe of the overall portion when it arrived that I did not bother to ask them for the condiments. I was very full and satisfied.
So my advice is to go, expect the decor to be minimal, expect to see some Indian clientele, and know that you will get some solid Indian food with FLAVOR for a low price.
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