Authentic Indian food in the heart of Waterloo

Amardeep Singh used to spend his spare time visiting peoples’  homes to cook his favourite Indian food. Now, the tables have been turned and people are going to him to sample the delights of this great world cuisine.

Less than six months after he opened it, people are flocking to his own restaurant in Waterloo. The place is able to take advantage of the near total absence of Indian restaurants in the area. But there’s rather more to its success than its mere location.

The food served here is both genuinely good and authentic. One reason why, even on a normally quiet Sunday evening, it is packed to the rafters. It must all make a pleasant change  for the affable Amardeep who used to traipse round the area to cook Indian food in front of people in the comfort of their own home.

It was a way of indulging his own passion for Indian food and sharing it with the local community. His day job at the time was working in  the kitchens a local Italian and French restaurant. It was, he says, a good way of honing his craft which first started at the tender age of eight watching his parents cook back in his native India

The unusual experience of cooking in private homes for people gave him, he says, an insight into the passion felt locally in Waterloo for Indian cuisine. There was just one big, gaping problem: the absence of a single Indian restaurant in the town!

That could, according to Amardeep, have something to do with the fact that he believes there are just four Indian families living in the area. Generally, though, there are relatively very few Indian restaurants in Belgium itself. And what few there are possibly serve something that is more akin to Pakistani or Bangladeshi cuisine.

Step forward Amardeep and his new business venture. Located on a busy road in this affluent Brabant Walloon town, Parf’Inde Epices now occupies the site of what, down the years, has been everything from a Greek to Italian restaurant.

The interior has been totally changed and now boasts a nice blend of relaxing colours. Seating up to 50 people, it also boasts ample free parking.

Parf’Inde Epices Interior

Though it only opened last October, word  has spread fast about the quality of the food served here. The card is not massive but contains a great selection of traditional Indian dishes.

Starters, for example, include chicken tikka (chicken marinated in yogurt and coriander) and samosas (stuffed puff pastry). Mains feature Karahi (a combination of turmeric, ginger, tomatoes and onion peppers) and that perennial favourite, Korma (cooked in a thick sauce with cashew nuts, almonds and coconut cream with authentic taste peppers). For the more adventurous there is, of course, vindaloo and Madras.

Parf’Inde Epices Curry

The card also includes a good choice of other options, including Kerala Fish (served with a fine mixture of garlic, shallots, ginger, mustard, seeds and curry leaves) and, for vegetarians, dishes like Bhindi Bajee (which comes with sweet and mildly spices).

There is a selection of naan bread (Indian home made bread, baked in a “Tandoor” oven) and tasty deserts, including Gulab Jammun (flavored with caramum in syrup and vanilla ice cream).

Parf’Inde Epices Dessert

Amardeep’s personal favourite is “Suraj”, a traditional Indian yellow curry but, in truth, you could choose anything here and would not be disaappointed.

Waterloo is known for its British community but Amardeep estimates that as much as 80percent of his clientelle are native French-speakers. Many may be unfamiliar with Indian food, thinking (mistakenly, of course) that it amounts to not much more than Madras and Vindaloo. But this terrific restaurant is just the place to discover (or re-discover) what it is really all about. The fact that the head chef (who used to work in the world-famous Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai and learned his craft at catering school in his native land) and his staff all hail from India gives an added touch of authenticity to the cooking.

An added plus is that the menu is also available in English and Amardeep is fluent in both French and English.As one guest has said, “Finally an Indian restaurant in Waterloo and authentic flavours that remind you of a trip to India.” A fitting tribute indeed.

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