I know, I couldn't believe it myself. We're in Hong Kong, walking around Tsim Sha Tsui looking for some place for dinner, then this Indian guy pops up from nowhere and started dragging some of my mates to his restaurant nearby. When you're heading a delegation where at least half of the delegates are Indian, you know you don't have much decisive power when it comes to Indian food. I made a weak plea to go somewhere else, "But we're in Hong Kong!" but they all looked so homesick you just gotta give in to them. We did not intend to go to Swagat actually, but the original restaurant looked so dodgy that our front scouts made an about-turn and brought us here instead.
Swagat is a really small restaurant, with a dimly but aethetically lit interior and soft Indian music humming in the background. The twelve of us took almost half the restaurant though, that's just how small the space is. It's air-conditioned too. The only reason I'm saying all this is because the building that this restaurant is housed in is terribly crowded and run-down, holds quite a few cheap hostels and guesthouses, and has its lion's share of dodgy characters. I was contemplating sticking to soft drinks and trying to last past dinner, but then I decided not to be a wet blanket and allowed my friends to order whatever they wanted for our table.
A typical Indian cracker that is usually served as an appetiser. It came with a few sauces, which included Indian achar (spicy pickled condiment) and a minty gravy (the green one in the picture above).
"Chicken marinated in yoghurt and spices". This was pretty good, the chicken wasn't too dry and was adequately tender. I especially like the marinate that was teasing all your taste buds at every bite and chew.
"Barbecued chicken in a rich tomato gravy with butter". I have to admit that the food was turning out much better than I had expected, and the butter chicken here was another winner. The gravy was sufficiently thick and it complemented my butter naan wonderfully. The chicken was soft and tender too.
Mutton Rogan Josh
"Tender lamb pieces cooked in Kashmiri spices". The Indian guys from my delegation were on a roll. All the dishes were so familiar to them and they had on very satisfied smiles as they poured through the menu. Me, Bernadette and Ce Zheng, Chinese as we are, were the amused but curious minority for the time being. But I'm glad we had them around, because all the food they were picking turned out to be splendid. The lamb pieces were very tender, as have all the meat dishes been, but I preferred the butter chicken because it was sweeter.
"Baked soft leavened bread". Soft and fluffy indeed, but I prefered the butter naan which had (obviously) a fuller and more buttery taste to it.
"Deep fried puffed bread". I always like things deep fried, so this was good stuff for me. Think roti prata but a more puffed version.
Very friendly and personalised. The fact that our Indian friends could converse in Hindi with the boss made things a whole lot easier of course. The manager was probably so happy that he had foreign Indians coming to his humble eatery that he nicely waived our service charge.
HK$55 for the tandoori chicken
HK$60 for the butter chicken
HK$58 for the mutton rogan josh
HK$10 for a serving of naan
HK$10 for a serving of bhatura