The décor at Swad is tasteful and muted with paintings of the maharajas of Rajasthan. The menu is a delicate exercise in fusion; taking old favourites like the chicken tikka and giving them a regional spin.
While the portions are more than adequate and prompt one to greed since one would not be able to try all the excellent main dishes there are some recommendations from the chef.
For starters, you can have the Kozhi Vepudu from Andhra, succulent chicken cubes stir fried with spices and curry leaves; the spiced chicken wings, from Tamil Nadu: chicken pieces marinated in spices and fried to a crisp consistency; or the Tandoori prawns marinated in subtle spices and barbequed in the clay tandoor.
For the vegetarians there is the Paneer tikka, grilled cottage cheese (a north Indian favourite) with the subtle flavours of fennel and mint and Hara Kebab, a delightful invention of broccoli and spinach made into a patty. As a complement to these subtly spiced dishes what could be better than a full bodied red wine, either a Shiraz or a Pinotage that adds to the flavours swirling on one's tongue.
The Lamb rogan josh, is a firm favourite of fans of Indian cuisine. This can be offset by the Malabar Fish Curry made with kingklip in a mild coconut gravy flavoured with turmeric (this dish from Kerala is more popularly known as fish moilee, deriving from the Portuguese word for soft or mild). The Kadai chicken is a traditional wok fried chicken curry from the north of India that has that everyday homemade taste.
Indian cuisine, if it has a central principle, is of the balancing of flavours: the sour, sweet, chilly hot, fragrant and cooling. And the dishes at Swad manage that fine balance, creating a symphony of flavours even in an individual dish. Apart from the fragrant basmati rice and the traditional naan and rotis's there is an unusual complement to the main dishes. The Malabar paratha, also known as the Ceylon paratha¸ made from refined wheat flour: layered, crisp and flaky.
The dessert section has a wonderful handmade kulfi icecream with thickened milk, pistachios, cardamom, saffron and a texture and fragrance that made ordinary ice cream taste like sweetened cardboard. The kulfi is the icing on the cake, to mix metaphors, and if you have any doubts that the food couldn't get any better they will be laid to rest with the first spoonful of kulfi releasing its flavours on the palate.