I am way too amused by puns. After a friend of mine told me about an Indian food cart that sits on an old car lot and is called G’raj Mahal (a playful Taj Mahal reference, get it?), I couldn’t resist checking it out myself. I have never gravitated towards Indian food, mainly because of a lack of exposure and an aversion to spicy food, so I was excited to give it another try.
The place itself is a sort of food cart-restaurant hybrid. The outdoor seating is modeled after Indian weddings, with strung Christmas lights and mosaic tables under a cream tent-like overhang. Once you enter, you are seated and there is waiter service that takes your order and brings the food from the cart to you. The whole thing was ridiculously charming. I was already sold after the first 30 seconds so the phenomenal food didn’t hurt either.
As an Indian food novice, I started with the Naan bread with a light coating of fresh garlic. I have always heard of the joys of Tandoor baked breads but I had no idea they would be so light and chewy. I was in carbohydrate heaven. I ended up dipping the Naan into my order of Baingan Bartha, pureed eggplant simmered in spices and served with peas. The eggplant tasted fresh and the flavor was so rich that it could easily stand on its own as a main dish.
For my main course, I asked the waitress for her favorite non-spicy dish. She recommended the Rogan Josh, a mild but not bland curried yogurt meat dish that I ordered with lamb. It was delicious but I would have liked a more generous portion of the lamb. All of the meat dishes came with rice that allowed me to enjoy every last bite by absorbing the extra sauce.
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at G’raj Mahal. The decor was worldly, the staff was helpful and, above all, the food was exquisite. I highly recommend this hidden gem to any guys out there looking to impress a date with a unique dining experience in Austin.
91 Red River
“In the backyard”
Austin, Texas 78701