The Tandoor has been around since 1994, and when it opened, it was the first Indian fine dining restaurant in Shanghai. It recently took a break for renovations, reopening in June 2019. The restaurant was even awarded a Bib Gourmand in the 2018 Shanghai Michelin Guide.
The Space & Location
If you’ve never been to The Tandoor, finding it can be tricky. It’s located inside the Jinjiang Hotel on Maoming Lu—enter the hotel compound and make a right to the south building. The entrance is inside, to the right of the lobby.
With the renovation, The Tandoor has added a bar and a 10-seater private room. The rest remains unchanged. Its quirky interiors are inspired by the Silk Road, signified by four dining pavilions—Chinese, Persian, Turkish, and Buddhist—and the ceiling scattered with Chinese characters translated from a Sanskrit poem.
It’s a large restaurant. The atmosphere is certainly upscale with fine-dining-level service to match. I wouldn’t walk in wearing flip-flops and shorts. (You could, but that’s lame.) Despite the swanky vibes, the prices are more than affordable.
Executive Chef Sanjay Tyagi’s menu is largely northern Indian with dishes found along the Silk Route. The food is as traditional as it gets—the only thing contemporary here is the setting.
Navigating the expansive menu requires patience, that is, if you’re unfamiliar with Indian cuisine. The Tandoor has a diverse range of dishes, most seldom found at other establishments. Yet, you won’t find butter chicken or vindaloo here. There are plenty of vegetarian options, too. They do not serve pork.
Highlights include the Dahi Ke Kebab (¥65). These are fluffy homemade yogurt cheese patties filled with Turkish pistachio nuts and Kashmiri saffron. The Gosht Gilafi Seekh (¥49), another excellent starter, present tender rolls of minced goat meat crusted with bell peppers and coated in a rich onion curry sauce, served with mustard-yogurt dip.
Most memorable is the Dal Makhni (¥78). The black lentils are soaked for 24 hours and then simmer in the tandoor overnight, soaking up the base of ghee-thickened curry. It’s creamy, luscious, and enough to send you over the moon. (Ghee = clarified butter.)
The Khadd Murg (¥139) is a dish that’s dressed to impress. Curried chicken is wrapped in banana leaf, then encased in dough, and cooked in the tandoor. It must take them forever to make the porcupine-esque casing. No, you don’t get to eat the cooked dough. The chicken is juicy and flavorful, but is not as memorable as its looks.
A specialty is the Tandoori Guchchi (¥99). Wild Himalayan morels are stuffed with fresh cheese curds, nuts, and dried rose petals, marinated in yogurt, and cooked in the tandoor. It’s a treat, but personally, I wouldn’t order it more than once. I’m more for the curries.
The Awadhi Subz Ki Tehri (¥88) seasoned basmati rice with vegetables is a great accompaniment. It comes with raita, a thick, whipped yogurt that you’re meant to drizzle over your rice. The fresh sourness adds another dimension to the curries, and also helps with the burn.
Overall, the experience at The Tandoor is fantastic. I would definitely recommend it.
Address: Jinjiang Hotel, South Building, 59 Maoming Nan Lu, near Changle Lu 茂名南路59号锦江饭店锦楠楼大堂, 近长乐路
Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm, 5:30pm-10:30pm, Sat-Sun, 11:30am-2pm, 5:30pm-11:30pm