Getting good Indian food in Hong Kong is not easy. If you go to most of the places on the island you’re likely to be dissapointed by half hearted, almost bland, attempts at different curries and preheated onion bhajis. A much better bet is to head over to Chungking Mansions which clusters a lot of the local India community and promises a much more authentic experience.
Khyber Pass has for a long time been my pick of the different offerings in the mansion. When I visited several years ago, Khyber Pass offered curries cooked so that their different flavours were more intense, a wider range of different types of dishes and breads, and a generally more pleasant atmosphere.
The balance of spices in the sauces at Khyber is its main strength, although the tandori dishes are also supposed to be good. The saag curries have spinach potent in flavour with a nice course texture that goes best with tender white chunks of chicken. We had the mutton saag however, and the sauce was let down by large chunks of lamb that were tastless and far too tough.
Mutton jalfrezi suffered from the same poor quality meat. Really the lamb should break apart into soft chunks. The jal frezi also lacked that slight piquancy which can make jal frezi so interesting. It had nicely balanced spices, but didn’t really leave you with a striking impression. The chicken mahkani was good however, with the really rich, subtly spice creaminess which makes this dish so satifying.
Several other smaller complaints might further push me to look elsewhere. The popadoms came with tomato sauce. The waitress who took our order didn’t really listen properly and kept suggesting different things in an attempt to push the price up. The restaurant now serves alcohol and although the didn’t make a fuss about us drinking our own bottles, indicated that this was unwelcome in future. Other restaurants in Chungking allow you to bring your own.
Chungking Mansions is located 36-44 Nathan Road. Entering the building from Nathan Road, you need to head to the back right hand elevator, and then go to the 7th floor. Alternatively if you ask the guys loitering out the front of the building, the chances are one of them will be eager to lead you to Khyber Pass and also to give you a 10% discount card.