“Next time, get the butter chicken,” said the woman at the table next to us on the patio at Bond Brothers, the brewery where we had tracked down the Curry in a Hurry truck. “It’s the best, as good as any I’ve ever had in a restaurant.”
My wife had struck up a conversation over the woman’s dog (a Goldendoodle, one of several dozen breeds that my wife finds irresistible). Then talk had naturally turned to food (OK, maybe I nudged it in that direction when I asked the woman what she had ordered).
That butter chicken did look enticing, but we weren’t in the least disappointed in what we’d ordered. My lamb curry was first rate, loaded with chunks of lean, tender meat in a classic spice-fragrant gravy. Served over rice — premium extra-long grain basmati, you could tell, and fragrant in its own right — the curry packed a moderate kick, but not so much as to overwhelm any but the most delicate palate.
The “green chicken curry” that my wife ordered turned out to be a more-than-respectable rendering of a Thai coconut curry, riddled with onions, red and bell pepper and ribbons of fresh basil. And by “more-than-respectable” I mean that I may have snuck a few more bites than usual when my wife wasn’t looking. (That Goldendoodle was a welcome distraction.)
We also shared an order of mini-veg samosas, bite size pyramids of pastry filled with a spiced potato mixture. Served with date-tamarind chutney for dipping, these are just what the doctor ordered if you’re just looking for a nibbling companion for a pint of your favorite brew (assuming you’ve managed to score the double delight of finding Curry in a Hurry at a local brewery).
The friendly woman in the order window — that’s owner/chef Alaksha Surti — will proudly tell you that the chutney is made by her mom. Surti has trained and worked in hotels and restaurants on four continents, but credits her mother and grandmother with teaching her to cook the foods of her childhood in Bangalore.
Curry in a Hurry is truly a family effort, as Surti’s husband and uncle help out on the truck — both at the same time, if they’re working a particularly big event.
The naanwich, an Indian-style wrap made by folding naan around your choice of protein with sautéed onions and peppers, and topped with raita and cilantro chutney, wasn’t in the offing the night we were there. Nor was the kati roll, a sort of Indian burrito with a rotating choice of fillings including lamb meatballs, chicken tikka, and a vegetarian paneer tikka rolled up in a hot egg roti flatbread. I understand both are popular, so I’m hoping we can score at least one of them next time.
I’m also looking forward to trying channa masala, a vegetarian entree of chickpeas in a spicy tomato-enriched curry.
And of course, I’ve got to try that butter chicken. Who knows, maybe it will live up to that “as good as any I’ve ever had in a restaurant” rave. There’s even a good chance I will actually be eating it in a restaurant. Alaksha Surti has announced plans to open a brick-and-mortar edition of Curry in a Hurry in the Morgan Street Food Hall, slated to open this summer in downtown Raleigh.
Curry in a Hurry
Prices: curries, kati rolls and naanwiches $10-13; mini-veg samosas $5