There are a few obstacles in the way of Hazara’s great food. Service is certainly one. Wrangling someone to take your order is easy enough – they are only too eager to listen as you tick off the ¥45 masala chai, ¥35 naan, ¥228 lamb leg, ¥18 mango chutney, ¥200 punjab-style prawns, 10 percent service charge... (You don’t actually have to order that one, though it’d be nice if you could send it back.) The four-figure price tag per couple is obviously another problem. Once you’ve ordered, give up on the service. If they’re not holding open the kitchen door to shout orders to the cooks, diner-style, they might be in the corner service station on cell phones. Or disappeared.
The decor, once a cozy tent, has been reduced to a boxy afterthought to owner Face Group’s other luxe interests – Visage, Lan Na Thai, Face Bar. Any time other than lunch, when the verdant grounds of the Ruijin Hotel are visible, Hazara feels like a trailer selling Indian homewares. Get through all of that and the payoff is worth it: outstanding Indian food. Raan e Hazara, their namesake plate of amazingly moist, shredded leg of lamb marinated in cardamom, bay leaves, and other unnamed Indian spices and roasted in the tandoor oven, is remarkable. The ¥200 prawns, tawa heenga, are bathed in a creamy, tomato-based sauce with a deft mix of spice – complex without a single overwhelming note. Creamy, spicy dhaal Hazara (the house’s dal makhani); cashew nut chaat with cucumber, onion and tomato; okra folded into a sauce of onion, ginger, green chili, and tomato – all excellent. Shame about the roadblocks you’ve got to navigate to get to them. All cards.