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Curry Original

I’ve always noted that when I went to Indian restaurants, I never saw any Indian people (or very few). I asked some of my Indian friends about this and overwhelmingly, they felt that Indians don’t think that there is any value in going out to eat Indian when your mom can make better. True enough I suppose but those of us who love curry and don’t have Indian moms have to make do by going out to eat.

Curry Original has two locations in Kingston but I’ve only ever gone to the downtown location. I’ve been 4 times and I have always been a) impressed with the naan bread and b) astounded by the high prices.
Curry OriginalThis is the Beef Biryani (“a grand, festive basmati rice dish. Rice is cooked with layers of meat with coconut, peanuts and raisins. Flavoured with saffron and rose-water, garnished with fried onions and almonds”) for $15.95. This dish was pretty disappointing. The rice was very mildly flavoured (I for sure didn’t taste rose water) and the beef chunks were on the dry side. This dish was bloody expensive. Sadly, there were more meat chunks in this dish than in the other curries.
Curry OriginalThis is the Lamb Dhansak (“a Persian-style, spicy sweet-sour curry with a hot undertone. Cooked with lentils, yogurt, fenngreek leaves, fresh lemon juice and sugar in a very thick sauce”) for $14.95. The lamb was tender but there were really only 7 pieces. I loved the curry though. It was a wonderful balance of heat, sour, and sweetness. I seriously could lick the sauce off this plate. Because the flavours were so good, I didn’t mind the price.
Curry OriginalThis is the butter chicken (“our most popular dish. Marinated chicken breast skewered in the Tandoori oven, then diced and cooked with cream, yogurt, coconut, sugar, raisins, peanuts, and clarified butter. Garnished with almonds and fried onions. Very mild”) for $14.50. To be honest, I didn’t really get a sense that the chicken was cooked in the oven first before being finished in the sauce. The chicken could’ve had more Tandoori flavour. The sauce was really different compared to other butter chickens I’ve had. It was much sweeter and much milder. Again, not a lot of meat for the price.
Curry OriginalThis is the Aloo Ghobi (“potatoes and cauliflower cooked with tomatoes, onions and fenngreek leaves”) for $10.50. I really enjoyed this vegetarian dish. The cauliflower was tender and really fell apart with each jab with the fork. The potatoes, mixed with cauliflower bits and rice, really were quite satisfying. Also, the price was fantastic!

Overall, I have mixed feelings about Curry Original. I think they make some great dishes (Dhansak and Aloo Gobi) but their prices are pretty inflated for how much meat/sauce you got in each dish. Compared to Darbar (where the curry isn’t quite as good), it is about 10-15% cheaper. My recommendation: order Curry Original as take out, make your own rice at home, and enjoy the curry with your favourite Home Alone (Lost in New York being my favourite).

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16 thoughts on “Curry Original

  • November 17, 2010 at 1:02 pm
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    Curry Original is my absolute favourite Kingston restaurant. I'm a vegetarian so I can't speak for their meat dishes, but as a vegetarian I LOVE their variety of vegetable dishes. As for their pricing, you get what you pay for, and I am willing to pay for the high quality of their food. Many of the other Indian restaurants fill their dishes up with cheap celery, carrots or potatoes. The decor is lovely and the owners and staff are always very warm and welcoming! I've eaten there many times and have NEVER had a bad experience.

    • December 29, 2010 at 1:02 pm
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      I'm a vegetarian as well, and I like Curry Original, but the prices are too high and I don't go there often as a result. The"you get what you pay for" explanation is unconvincing, especially since their vegetarian options are obviously inexpensive to produce (they use frozen mixed vegetables in their mixed vegetable curry, for example).

  • November 17, 2010 at 1:31 pm
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    I'm surprised to hear that this is better curry than Darbar. I've never been to Curry Original but I'm a regular at Darbar and have never had a bad experience there. They jam pack their dishes with tons of meat and the flavours are always delicious. I had heard that CO was more expensive but it's shocking just how much more expensive! I think I pay about $7-$8 for a veg dish and about $11 for meat at Darbar. Our last order there was a chicken dish, two veg dishes, two orders of rice, 2 papadum (one comes free) and onion bhaji and our total was under $50. After reading this, I'll stick with Darbar.

    • November 18, 2010 at 10:00 am
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      I tend to agree. The cost to quality ratio definitely leans towards Darbar for me. That said, Curry Original is much nicer looking on the inside, so in a way the extra cost goes towards the dining experience. Darbar's decor has it's charms though.

  • November 19, 2010 at 7:46 am
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    I'm a regular at Rahim's cuisine. You can have your meal with any range of heat, from very mild to Pakistani hot. Prices are very reasonable and food is excellent and very filling.

    • November 19, 2010 at 8:18 am
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      I've always wanted to try out that place, but I've never actually met anyone who has tried it out. Good to hear your positive review, and from what I've seen their prices are very reasonable.

  • November 20, 2010 at 3:26 pm
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    Curry Original looks nice inside, and I have had many people tell me how much they like it, but the flavours reminded me of the kind of ersatz 'Indian' food served in many of the older curry houses in the UK, in which all the recipes had been adapted for 'western tastes', i.e. had all the flavour removed and lots of sugar and milk/cream added instead. Mind you, this was at lunchtime, and I have been told that the lunch menu is very different from the evening one…

  • November 23, 2010 at 7:00 pm
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    My wife and I always look forward to a special night out at Curry Original. We almost always go to dinner rather than lunch, but I don't find the prices really any higher than what you would pay at a standard classy restaurant. I've always been impressed with the food, ambiance and the wonderful service. I like spicy and never felt they've "watered" down their fare for Western tastes (either that or I'm more of a spice wimp than I thought). If anyone wants proof I have an especially hilarious pic of my brother red in the face and crying over the Vindaloo when we had the back room for a family birthday party. However, I must admit I have yet to try and experience Darbar, so I really can't compare…

    • November 24, 2010 at 8:09 am
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      So I just ordered 3 dishes from Darbar last night. Lamb Vindaloo, Butter Chicken, and Chicken Dhansak. My god. So delicious. Each had meat that knocked the socks off of the meat at Curry Original. I could actually taste the marinade/tandoori on the chicken in the butter chicken! I am going to write a formal review about Darbar sometime. But in the meantime… I am reaching for the peptobismol.

      • November 24, 2010 at 8:25 am
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        Yes! While I haven't tasted their dhansak, I've had the others you mentioned and agree that they are delicious. Glad you had a similar experience regarding portion sizes, and to echo one of my previous comments about Darbar, I find their prices a bit better than Curry Original. Can't wait for the formal review.

  • December 29, 2010 at 7:42 pm
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    Paulina's Curry Mix (Day's Road and Front Road) is fantastic– best Indian restaurant in Kingston in my opinion. They have a great buffet Friday and Saturday, with lots of dishes (new ones introduced all the time) for $16 I think. There are plenty of veggie options. The food is great and the family that runs it are really nice. The only disadvantage is its location (but it's handy for me). I like Curry Original too, and will take visitors there, but usually only if somebody else is paying for it! (I agree with the comments that Curry Original is expensive)

  • April 9, 2011 at 11:01 pm
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    Definitely very high priced for what you get. I prefer Darbar just because it’s more reasonable.

  • April 11, 2011 at 11:43 am
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    When I moved to Kingston 12 years ago, Darbar was the first restaurant I went to on the recommendation of a long-time Kinstonian. I have since sampled many, many of the wonder restaurants in Kingston but Darbar is still, by far, my favourite. I have eaten at Curry Original several times but find the food superior at Darbar, the service fantastic and the prices reasonable.

  • April 12, 2011 at 5:48 pm
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    I feel like I need to tell you guys, what you have been missing go try tandoori sizzle.I'm so addicted i feel like i need to tell people :)

    • April 12, 2011 at 6:11 pm
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      I've wanted to try out Tandoori Sizzle, but every time I go by there (usually hitting up Kingston Centre Coffeeco) I am somewhat turned off by the look of the place. It resembles a fast food restaurant, and I've honestly never seen a patron sitting/waiting inside. Indian cuisine is just one of those things I expect to eat in a more formal setting, or at least take out from a place that has butts in the seats. If it lasts another month or two, I will likely give in to curiosity.

  • June 10, 2011 at 8:36 pm
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    highly recommended! the hospitality and service is A-1 and the food is amazing / slightly pricey compared to Indian cuisine in other cities but most of Kingston's restaurants are above that bar

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