On 5 March of this year, three business partners opened the doors of their new Indian restaurant at Bispensgade 29 – Taste of India. (Finally – more than one Indian restaurant in Aalborg!) But this story is not just about another takeaway option in the city – and a yummy one at that – it’s also about some international residents who met at Aalborg Sprogcenter, became friends, saw a gap in the ethnic food market, and decided to do something about it.
Amreen, Fawzi, and Shahriar arrived in Aalborg within months of each other at the end of 2011/beginning of 2012. Like many new international residents to Denmark, they signed up for Danish courses at the sprogskole and began studying the language. Also similar to recent arrivals, they were drawn to each other based on things they had in common. Over a cup of coffee, they discovered one of these: a mutual frustration over the lack of good food options in Aalborg, outside of pizza, after 21:00.
And so the friends, who come from Jordan by way of Zambia (Fawzi) and Bangladesh by way of Ireland and London (Shahriar and Amreen, respectively), decided to add a new alternative to the list of restaurants in Nordjylland’s capital. After marrying in Bangladesh, Amreen and Shahriar had worked toward undergraduate degrees in London and Ireland, where they worked at Indian restaurants in their spare time. When Amreen decided to pursue a Masters degree in Denmark, the couple moved to Aalborg. Given their cooking experience, the two were confident about their ability to create Indian dishes that would appeal to the Danish palate. So when Amreen’s childhood friend Arafat and his wife arrived in Aalborg from London six months ago, eager to get busy, the three men – Fawzi, Shahriar, and Arafat – decided to invest in the establishment of an Indian cuisine restaurant. It took, as Fawzi likes to put it, ‘three years, a marriage (Fawzi’s), and two children (two of the families now have a toddler)’ to bring the restaurant dream to fruition; nonetheless, their vision of offering Aalborgenses another Indian food option was finally realized with planning and hard work.
Anticipating that the late-night/early-morning crowd that streams up and down Jomfru Ane Gade might be hungry for their dishes at 3am, the three hoped that an available space at the end of the pedestrian shopping zone near Vesterbro would be a good location and they planned to stay open until 5am on weekend nights. That hope, however, has not been founded – pølser appear to be party-goers’ preferred late night snack. Despite the lack of young late-night revelers making their way through the door, however, Taste of India is doing well. They were persuaded by many customers to offer delivery, which they have done since 17 April. They have also realized in the two months of being open that the space they have (which, incidentally, they decorated themselves) is not large enough and are already looking for a larger rental to house an actual sit-in restaurant (currently the restaurant functions more like a takeaway place, although it does have a few tables.) With the large demand for delivery (helped by the fact that they’re now listed on just-eat.dk), the three partners are even getting too busy to do all the work themselves – when I checked their FB page, I saw that they posted just yesterday a plea for applications: they are looking for two part-time employees to help out in the evenings.
Taste of India offers a variety of Indian food options, from Lamb Biriyani (apparently a favorite, though I have not yet tried it) to the standard crowd pleaser, Chicken Tikka Masala. Amreen is the head chef and adds her personal spin to recipes to give them a more ‘home cooked’ taste. The cooks make everything on site – mango lassis, for example, do not come out of a can – and while the spice level is indicated on the menu, you can ask for modifications. It is worth noting that the food is prepared for a customer base that is not accustomed to lots of spice; therefore, if you want a more authentic experience, you must make that clear when you order. The Chicken Tikka Masala that you get with the lunchbox (pre-made and ready for quick take-out), for example, is a very different dish from the one you get when you tell Fawzi over the phone that you would like the non-Danish version. Suddenly you’re looking at a takeaway container with chopped up chilis in it and not as much cream (delicious!). My husband and I are especially impressed by the Tadka Daal and Chana Masala, while our girls like the Aloo Gobi. But we haven’t made it all the way through the menu yet… 🙂
Taste of India is located at John F. Kennedy Plads 3. You can find it here.
Opening hours are:
Monday – Saturday 12:00 to 15:00 and 17:00 to 21:00
Sunday 16:00 to 21:00
Delivery is available from 17:00 to 21:00.
The phone number is 25 72 00 99 or 98 16 41 22 (press 3 when you get through).