This years journey ended at Desi
With the OCC’s coveted Curry House of the Year (CHOTY) award due to be announced following the December meet, members headed to Masala Desi on Dagu Lu firm in the knowledge that history was soon to be made. With a reputation for authentic Indian street food – as opposed to its slightly more upmarket neighbour Masala Art – the OCC was keen to see if Masala Desi would be good enough to beat out all other curry restaurants in the city and be crowned the first Shanghai CHOTY. Masala Desi’s customer care – the willingness for the restaurant to go the extra mile – was on display from the moment we arrived in the restaurant and were greeted with a smile from the waiter. This carried on throughout the night as he made spot-on recommendations when we ordered, and was attentive to any questions or requests. With this months’ meeting taking abnormally long, they were also very accommodating to all of the OCC’s administrative affairs. Similarly, service was by and large on point. We were swiftly replenished with more table water and cold beers, and by and large the food came out quickly. The only downside here was that the prawn curry took a long time to come out, to the point where some members were already full. While Masala Desi was great in all areas, quality of the food itself was where the venue really stood out, as a score of 7.9 indicates. Of particular highlight were the samosa chaats – recommended by the waiter – which prompted several exclamations from members as they tucked into them. The mains of jalfrezi mutton, Kashmiri lamb, butter chicken masala, prawn curry and baingan bharta (Punjabi eggplant) were similarly fantastic; the latter in particular being well received. We would also be remiss not to mention the mango lassi, comfortably the best lassi tasted by the Shanghai OCC so far. The value category measures not just price but also value for money; and on both regards Masala Desi did well. The final price of 320 RMB per person for a table of 13 – including a number of beers – was felt to be very reasonable, especially considering the high quality of food on offer. Lastly, while scoring the lowest at 7.3, Masala Desi’s atmosphere was in no way a negative. One member was heard complimenting the ‘pretty colours’ of the décor and table set up. The location as well on Dagu Lu was another plus here for those members who were keen to wet their whistle afterwards. Overall, as the scores show, Masala Desi is a very good all-round option for a curry in Shanghai. While it was not quite enough to take out the CHOTY title, it’s deservedly second on the list. With no weak spot, it offers delicious curries along with quality customer care and service in a great location, all at a reasonable price. The OCC is more than happy to recommend this restaurant.