Because I love Indian food, and want to explore all the best Indian restaurants in Sapporo, it is with great pleasure that we bring you this review of Aman Indian restaurant in Chuo-ku Sapporo.
The good people at Aman restaurant in Sapporo look to be marketing their business to the local Japanese population (as opposed to barbarians from America like myself). So if you try to find Sapporo’s Aman restaurant online you might try looking for 本場インドカリー アマン – which translates to “Authentic Indian Curry Aman.”
(Is “authentic” actually part of their name? Good question. Also: there may be a second インドカリーアマン in Minami ku, looks to be the same owner, but not the same location – this Aman is in central Chou-ku near Odori park.)
As for me, I found Aman the old fashion way – I was walking from Nishi Juichome station over to the beer bar Beer Cellar recently and… I could smell the curry, and it smelled fantastic. I circled the block until I found it.
I was exciting to try it. It took me a couple of nights to get over here (in part, as the Google map listings in Japan are pretty terrible, and Aman is closed on Mondays… so I was turned away the first try) but here I am. And I’m glad to be here.
Aman is on the second floor of a low rise building on the corner of Minami 1 and Ishiyama-dori and (from the inside of their restaurant, you can look down on the intersection). As you walk up the stairs, you’ll pull open the door and see the けんばいき (“ticket machine”) you can use to order and pay for your meal. That is… like a ramen shop, isn’t it?
Beyond the ticket machine is a very long counter that runs the full length of the kitchen, curving around back toward the kitchen again, creating endless “counter seats.” The is yet another counter that faces outside, and down on that intersection. There are no booths, or standard tables. And the feeling is… yes, like a ramen shop.
I didn’t confirm this idea but my theory is that Aman Indian curry Sapporo has taken over the space where some ramen enterprise has run off. And that is a classic example of a foreign business taking roots in the remains of a domestic one.
On the night I was there, I was greeted (in English) by the Chef Pooniya (great guy), and he suggested I sit down and offered me English menus. There were some posters about some sets near the ticket machine, but I was happy to be able to sit down and look at more choices and order in a more traditional way.
Looking at a list of dinner sets (with curry, salad, naan, etc), I asked for a recommendation, and the chef suggested the Tandoori set. I was happy to accept that idea, and told him I wanted to add some chicken pakora to that order.
He asked if I wanted a beer, and I certainly did. We were off to a good start.
You can see this papadum I was served as I waited for my order.
I was sitting near the door, looking right into the kitchen. From that seat I could I see him place the papadum in the tandoori oven, get it warm, roll it (like you see it there in the picture) and then serve it to me. You can’t do proper tandoori or naan without a tandoori oven; which is not a complicated thing, but it is a special thing. And it was part of the good night I had there to be able to watch food come and go from that oven.
The chicken pakora came first, along with a small salad with a bright orange dressing. I am not always excited about fried food (other than french fries, of course), but I hadn’t had pakora in a long time and it was delicious.
And while I thought that orange dressing would taste like “thousand island” (if you don’t know it, it’s a generic dressing common in America), it was in fact some delicious concoction (that may have come from carrots? And ginger? That is my amateur guess.) That dressing was fantastic and made me wish I had more salad.
Then the main course arrived. The chef has selected two curries for me. And there was a piece of tandoori chicken (from that special oven). And of course – some naan (in this case, garlic), which they cut into three pieces at Adam (I have never seen that before).
After dinner, I asked a few questions about the curries. The lighter-colored orange one is a “butter chicken,” which seems to be the standard curry at Indian restaurants in Sapporo. In America, we would be served chicken tikka masala. I was curious about the difference, and apparently “butter chicken” is more mild. It this case it was sweet (maybe too sweet for my tastes).
But the second curry, the darker one, was something more special. He called it “chicken curry.” He showed me a picture online of dhaba chicken (but said this wasn’t “dhaba” because the chicken was boneless – dhaba is bone-in chicken). This particular curry was exceptional. And that may be the main element of the meal that makes me think Aman Indian curry may get a mention when we do a list of the best Indian restaurants in Sapporo.
Here is the Dhaba Chicken (this picture was taken on my second visit). Dhaba is not on the menu. But this is basically the same as what the chef calls “Chicken Curry” – which is this sauce. That sauce was as good as I remembered it… it is fantastic.
A final comment about the ふんいき (“atmosphere”) at Sapporo Aman curry restaurant – the music is classic Indian music. Like common, “pop” Indian music. I hadn’t heard it in so long, it was charming to be around that sound it again.
Authentic Aman Indian Curry in Sapporo is another great addition to the Indian restaurants in Sapporo. Aman fits well along side Mohan Dish, Taj Mahal, and other notable Sapporo Indian curry restaurants. Based on that darker “chicken curry” alone, I would say the flavors were very good and worth coming back to.
Since it is inevitable that I will compare each Indian restaurant in Sapporo to Jhad Pul, let’s do that now: Aman does the standard Indian experience, and does it well. Not a lot of surprises, and the Bollywood music is a good example. Whereas at Jhad Pul in Sapporo, the food is similar in some ways, but the atmosphere at Jhad Pul is special in the way a meditation center is special; without being fancy or more expensive, Jhad Pul is a different level of experience. The music at Jhad Pul is more likely to be exotic Indian flute than Bollywood. While Aman is excellent, Jhad Pul is transcendent.