I would like to share one of my favorite hidden gems in Tallahassee, Essence of India. Before I started coming to this restaurant, I had convinced myself that I was never going to be able to eat and enjoy spicy food, ever. But I hated that I had never tried Indian cuisine, so I went with a friend to Essence of India.

I fell in love with the chicken curry.

Let me describe it to you this way. Imagine a deep yummy gravy with chicken chunks swimming in it, over fluffy rice – accompanied by fried bread that you can dip in the gravy. Yum.

Forget preconceived notions of “exotic” or “curry,” and instead think of “comfort,” “gravy” and “fried bread.” Also, the dishes are flavorful without the heat. So if you like mild or no heat – the mild curry will be fine for you.

When you arrive at Essence of India for lunch, you are immediately seated. As soon as you order, you get a light lentil soup and salad. These are basic additions to the lunch entrees and a nice way to begin. I like to mix a little of the onion/chile chutney to the salad to provide more flavor to the dressing.

Not long after, you receive your entrée along with a large plate of rice and a basket of naan – fried bread. I like to make a pile of rice and top with generous spoonfuls of chicken curry or butter chicken gravy. On this visit, I had the butter chicken, which has more of a tomato base to the gravy, but uses similar spices as the curry.

Get in mah belly.

I have the butter chicken pictured above in the lower left corner and the chicken curry on the righthand side. Look at that bread…mmmm.

This is a great lunch. Perfect for a cold or blustery day. I like to get it “hot” (not “Indian hot”), which is just spicy enough to get your nose running, but not painful.

Take a chance and try Essence. And if you need company, please take me. 🙂

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