Readers occasionally email me to tell me about their favorite restaurant in an attempt to get me to review it, or just to enlighten me on what I'm missing. Almost all of these favorite restaurants are in some Pennsylvania or New Jersey town I've never heard of, nor will ever travel to.
I do know Exton, PA, and I do travel pretty darn close to it a few times a year. And the discovery (thanks, reader!) of an Indian restaurant that serves chaats, dosas, curries and other Indian classics, as well as Indian pizzas and wraps, Bombay specialties, and Indo-Chinese dishes meant that the next time I zoomed down Highway 30, I'd be taking a detour.
Indian Kitchen is the name of the restaurant, with a sister restaurant, Indian Hut in Bensalem, PA, but people seem to refer to the restaurants as Hot Breads, which is the name of the bakery inside.Yeah, I said bakery. Birthday cakes, tiramisu, and a whole slew of tradition bakery goods, including a few Indian specialties like pastry puffs filled with Indian curry are baked on the premises.
Hot Breads pretty much has you covered on any Indian food craving you might have. Want to cook it at home yourself? Hit up the Indian Corner grocery next door.
With such a large menu, covering so many styles of Indian cuisine, I had a hard time choosing. Ultimately, I decided to check out an Indo-Chinese dish (India's take on Chinese food) , since I've had Indian pizza and Bombay street food elsewhere, and I've never seen Indo-Chinese food at any other place.
After looking over the menu, step up to the counter to place your order. Pay, then have a seat. When your order is up, a person behind the counter will call out the name of the dish (listen closely, because it comes with an accent), and you go gather your goods on a tray to bring back to the table.
When ordering, you'll be asked if you want mild, medium, or spicy — for everything! I've never had any anyone ask my spice preferences at an Indian restaurant for anything other than curries, and even then usually not. Not knowing Hot Bread's definition of spicy, I played it safe with medium, but I'm afraid the lack of heat may have diminished my enjoyment of Hot Bread's food. Next time, it's spicy all the way.Of course, my favorite chaat, dahi puri, was ordered. Puffed puri shells filled with potato and chickpeas, topped with yogurt, tamarind chutney, and sev could have had a little more sweet tamarind chutney for my liking, and I very much missed the sprinkling of chili powder I get on most dahi puris. I'm hoping the lack of chili powder was because I ordered the dish medium.The masala dosa was thin, crisp and not at all greasy, although the potato filling suffered from a little too much grease and lack of spiciness. Again, I think medium got me.When it came to the Indo-Chinese dishes, I waffled between the curries over rice, noodle dishes, and fried rice for quite some time. The Veg Manchurian won. Deep fried vegetable balls the consistency of a chewier kofta balls swim in a mild Manchurian sauce flavored with onion, ginger, garlic, and a healthy amount of cilantro. The dish tasted more Chinese than Indian, but somewhat different than anything you've ever had at a Chinese restaurant. It was like a cilantro-heavy Chinese sauce landed on my Indian vegetable balls and Basmati rice.
The hot cardamom tea (masala tea is also an option) was sweet, spicy, and creamy without being too much of any three of those things. Perfect, really.
I'm not prepared to declare Hot Breads the best Indian restaurant — I've only covered about 3% of their menu — but I will say that Hot Breads quite possibly has the most varied menu I've seen. I'm very envious of the Extonians who have the opportunity to blow through the menu on a quest for their favorite dish.
Oh, and the restaurant is BYOB with free wi-fi! Really, what doesn't Hot Breads offer?
Indian Kitchen /Hot Breads
260 Pottstown Pike, Exton, PA 19341