It’s surprising that Indian food has never really caught on in Valencia; surprising because variations on Chinese food have long been popular, because Valencia is on the Silk Trade route and therefore spices must have been coming here ever since the Moors took over in 711 AD. Furthermore, Valencians are not averse to hot, spicy dishes; witness the allipebre, a spicy dish made with local eels from the Albufera lake.
The first Indian restaurant in Valencia was Shish Majal, and after a few more came and went, it is one of the few that remain.
It was opened in 1992, the year of the Barcelona Olympics, and the name means Crystal Palace, which was to be found at the fortress of Lahore. It purports to be a fusion of east and west, although the décor reminds me of a very unwestern harem, with curtains everywhere, even on the ceiling, creating a tent-like ambience.
There are also very unwestern scimitars on the wall, placed there no doubt to discourage the very western tradition of doing a runner.
There are all kinds of menus, for daytime and night time, with a special menu on Thursday nights at 8.75€.
The menu is extensive, covering a wide range of Indian regions and styles, and there are also two tasting menus.
The 25€ one is the most extensive and expensive, and offers PRAWN PAKORA with chick peas, CHICKEN TANDOORI cooked in the traditional oven with the mysterious but traditional red stain; BANGAN PAKORA, made with aubergine and the ever popular chick peas, LAMB ROGAN JOSH cooked with yogurt and cream, CHICKEN MUGLAI with cashew and cream, and three desserts; KULFI, an almond and pistachio ice cream, GULAB JAMAN, rice pudding with cardoman, and LASSI, a kind of milk shake made out of banana or mango and totally unrelated to canines.
Shish Majal is near Plaza Xuquer in the San José neighbourhood in Calle Poeta Artol 13.
Photos by Mark Sicon