Swagat Indian Cuisine, Concord CA

Swagat Indian Cuisine has several locations in California and Oregon, and we have one practically in our back yard.  Zach’s older brother eats there fairly often but we had yet to try it (and Zach had never had Indian food before, anyway).  We felt inspired to go spicy tonight, as well as try something new.

assorted vegetable pakoras

assorted vegetable pakoras

We started with a plate of assorted pakoras, including potato, onion, eggplant, hot and mild chilis.  These vegetables are deep fried with a mildly spiced batter, and none were overcooked nor greasy.  We couldn’t tell you the names of the trio of sauces, except we should warn you, the green was particularly tasty but unexpectedly spicy!

lamb biriyani with curry sauce and raita

lamb biriyani with sides of curry sauce and raita

August has to try lamb whenever it’s on the menu.  The biriyani was recommended, with reason.  Basmati rice cooked with shrimp, spices, and herbs is the foundation for this dish, heavily loaded with big, succulent chunks of good lamb.  When she took a bite, the flavor combination brought her back to an apartment in Spain during her college years when a British Bengali friend cooked dinner one night with his family’s recipes, and this was just like one of them.  That was a huge clue for August that everything here must be made from scratch.

chicken vindaloo

chicken vindaloo

Zach wanted to try a small tureen of chicken vindaloo, with potatoes and a spicy onion sauce.  The spices were hot so you have to be able to appreciate spiciness to get this dish, but the flavor beneath the spiciness is rich.  He liked that there was both light and dark meat chicken, and the potatoes were “super flavorful.”  As an a la carte item it came with basmati rice and tandoori naan, which were perfect for soaking up the sauce.

palak paneer

palak paneer

Years ago August had found palak paneer as a microwave meal at a Trader Joe’s or something similar.  It wasn’t bad, but fresh is always better.  The curry base is spinach, featuring chunks of paneer cheese.  They acted as morsels of coolness amidst the deliciously fiery curry.  We ordered this not a la carte, but as a “complete thali dinner” with dal curry, sambar (thick lentil vegetable soup), “vegetable curry of the day,” and raita (homemade yogurt with cucumber and onion).  On top of all that, even, was more basmati rice, tandoori naan, some unknown and not-on-the-menu crispy fried flat bread thing, and dessert from the buffet.

(sauces L to R): sambar, dal curry, "vegetable curry of the day," and raita

(sauces L to R): sambar, dal curry, “vegetable curry of the day,” and raita

Yes, they also have a buffet here, but we wanted to order off the menu so that we could have pretty plates to take pictures of.  August really liked the system of round metal containers for the complete thali dinner with the palak paneer.

a very affordable feast!

a very affordable feast!

We were given way bigger portions than we had imagined.  Because everything is scratch made, also, we felt very full, very quickly – we ended up bringing home four leftover containers!  The service here is friendly and helpful, and they do a great job of keeping your water glass filled since you’ll be drinking so much.  And, they even deliver!  We will keep that in mind for some future rainy day.

Posted on February 8, 2013, in Restaurants and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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