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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Chutney: a new Indian and Nepalese restaurant in Honolulu

Chicken masala, naan, and sauces: mint, tomato, tamarind

Chutney is my perfect neighborhood Indian restaurant—a tiny place with six tables, casual and cheap compared to most of the Indian restaurants around town. I have visions of it being the Ethel's of Indian food—mom and dad running the kitchen, daughter in the front, but I'm getting ahead of myself, and Chutney is only a month old, taking the place of short-lived Hosojin

I have taken a vegan here, and half the menu was offered to us as vegan-friendly—among them, channa masala, a chickpea stew; a tomato-based vegetable curry (the curries are available with vegetable, chicken, lamb or shrimp); and biryani, a fragrant saffron and Indian-spiced pilaf.

On a second visit, post-surf session, I find others in the lineup here, and they are carnivorous, bottomless pits. They are enjoying their meal as much as the vegan. They chastise me when I take too long to order (you order and pre-pay at the counter): "just get anything, it's all good!" I have to agree—the vindaloo is a sour curry, pairing well with tender lamb chunks, and the masala, ordered with chicken, has soft, grilled chicken bathed in a creamy tomato sauce. You'll probably need at least one order of naan, slightly sweet and airy, per person to go with the dishes. The only disappointment I've encountered so far here is with the paratha, a wheat flatbread that has all the requisite layers but feels too dense and greasy.

The food here is billed as Indian by way of Nepal, which I think accounts for the creamier curries and flavors that seem slightly different from the usual Indian fare I know (which I have to admit, is somewhat limited).

Flatbreads $2.95-$3.95, entrees $9.95-$13.95
661 Keeaumoku St., 312-4295

Posted on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 in Permalink

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About This Column

From five-star restaurants to hidden holes-in-the-wall, Biting Commentary will let you know what’s hot and what’s not. Find out the latest restaurant news—who’s opening, who’s closing, which chef is moving on, where the great special dinners are. Discover the best menu items, fabulous wines, stunning cocktails, hand-crafted beers. Be the first to hear about upcoming food events and festivals.

Food editor Martha Cheng graduated from Wellesley College with degrees in Computer Science and English. She's a former line cook, food truck owner, Peace Corps volunteer and Google techie. Follow her on Twitter @marthacheng.


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