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Sitar, Barbados

Sitar Restaurant, Holetown, St James

Holetown is one of those prime tourist areas in Barbados. And there’s a reason for that. In a small area, there are shops and restaurants tightly packed for visitors’ enjoyment. I am sure the shopping is great, but the real reason I like it is the abundance of eating options. You can just drive along and find somewhere nice to eat. Although generally, I’d recommend calling for a reservation. They seem to like it in most places.

Sitar is located somewhere in a pair of side streets of the main road, amid other restaurants, a couple bars, karaoke and otherwise and there are always people on the street looking very much as if they’re enjoying themselves. The restaurants are in quaint narrow houses and you can’t quite tell what it’s going to be like from the outside.

Sitar, an Indian restaurant, is small, with good food. I’ve only been once so far, but I will go again, time permitting. I am not quite sure about the service – people were friendly, but the service was a bit slow considering there were only a couple other tables there. But I did like the food. I had veggie samosas (nice, hot crispy, but low light and the one picture I had is too blurry). And then Matar Paneer, Pilau Rice and some Garlic and Onion Nan. I don’t think I have had Matar Paneer before, although I always like Paneer. The Nan was very good. Light, a bit crispy on the outside and nice flavour.

The serving sizes are decent and the price is not too bad. Another reason to like this part of Holetown, the food is fairly affordable. I noticed the dish they served the Matar Paneer in looks JUST like the ones that Rasam in Trinidad uses. Must be a Caribbean Indian restaurant supply store. But the plates were cool and different. Colour. Nice.

Update (18 May 2007): I have visited Sitar at least three more times since this post. They know us now. Seriously. Everyone came over to say hello. I thought I could post a bit more on the food and prices.

Appetizers – The samosas really are consistently good – flaky, hot and flavourful and served in 3s. Not very spicy for those who worry. And the slightly sweet red sauce they serve with it is a good compliment. I have also had the ground split pea patties (like Trini kachorie, can’t remember the name they use) which are also good – crispy and well seasoned. You get 3 of these per order.

Nan – The nan at Sitar is light and thin and just the right amount of crispy on the outside. Very very nice. The Aloo Nan (with a layer of seasoned potato in the middle) is a particular favourite. Word of caution – 2 people can comfortably eat 1 order of nan with your main course.

Sitar Aloo Gobi smSide Orders – Sitar’s rice dishes are made from basmati rice and are nice. I have not tried the biriyani (which would be a main course) and only 2 types of the rice, but Ithink they do a good job. I don’t think they are necessarily spectacular, but if you like rice, you won’t be disappointed. I have also had some of the vegetable sides, like the Aloo Gobi (pictured on the left), which is a mixture of potato, cauliflower and other vegetables, cooked in a mixture of spices like turmeric and cumin. I think the actual flavour may vary with the chef and spices used, but I love the 2 main ingredients, so I ordered it, but I found the taste of the fresh coriander leaves to be somewhat overpowering. I usually like coriander/cilantro, but not as much as chadon beni/culantro from T&T. This dish had too much of the slightly grassy/woody taste that cilantro/coriander can sometimes contain.

Curries – I have tried quite a few of the curries and come to the conclusion that I don’t really like the overly creamy Indian curries. I think I prefer the ones that are tomato based at Sitar. The Vindaloo is good and I think I would like to try the Jalfrezzi if I get a chance to visit again (my time in Barbados is almost up). The last time I had the Kerala Fish Curry, which seems to be just some spices (usual suspects like turmeric, ground coriander, cumin) and some yoghurt. It was a nice balance to the fish, with a hint of tangyness from the yoghurt. One of my friends orders the Chicken Korma every time, and loves it. I am not sure I like Kormas, so go with her recommendation :-) As mentioned above, the Matar Paneer is quite nice. And the lamb curries are apparently well cooked and seasoned.

sitar-gulab-jamoon-sm.jpg

Desserts – Sitar offers 2 Indian desserts – Gulab Jamoon and Kulfi. Indian Gulab Jamoon is of course not Trini Gulab Jamoon; Indian Gulab Jamoon is more like Trini Rasgullah – fried balls of milk in a spiced sugar syrup. Sitar’s Gulab Jamoon (pictured on the left) is very good, but a little too much syrup for me. Plus they top it with whipped cream and a cherry (why??). The Kulfi, Indian icecream, is dense and condensed milky sweet, with nuts, ginger and spices. Mmm. But also topped with whipped cream and cherries…

You can also end the meal with a very nice Masala Chai.

I kept the bill (if only I could find it) and Sitar is relatively reasonable in terms of price (it’s still Barbados). A 3 course meal, plus coffee or chai and soft drink came up to BD $90 (US $45). And we still had take home bags of curry and nan.

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19 Comments so far (Add 1 more)

  1. Hey Chennette, I actually made myself some Matar Paneer the other day, what do you think of that? It tasted pretty good too, even though I do say so myself.

    1. Mani on March 25th, 2007 at 8:22 pm
  2. You’ve never had matar paneer before?
    i’m sure i’ve had
    just where…

    2. Lilandra on March 25th, 2007 at 9:10 pm
  3. Hmm
    I need to plan my vacation well….

    3. trinimom on March 25th, 2007 at 9:29 pm
  4. Mani – I do recall you were planning to make it. Glad to know it turned out well. Pictures? 😀

    Mom – you want to come here for Indian food? Not bad, but at least in Rasam you can get the meat!

    4. chennette on March 25th, 2007 at 9:54 pm
  5. Nice review Chennette, and very much appreciated. I’ll definitely try it out.
    I don’t know if it is something about Indian Restaurants in Barbados but I went to Zarfan (Hastings/Rockley Road) and while the food tasted good, the food took a while to arrive even though there were just a couple of tables. We waited 1 hour for our food to arrive.

    5. Cynthia on March 26th, 2007 at 12:14 am
  6. Oh, I’ve been to Zafran and yes, I agree the service was quite slow even though the place was almost empty. At the time we thought maybe it was a lot of square footage to cover, it being a big house. But the poppadums were a bit cold when we got them. And I didn’t think the food tasted that great for its reputation. Sitar was better. But, I’ve only been once to each, so it’s still there to be tested again!

    6. chennette on March 26th, 2007 at 12:42 am
  7. Um those Nans look so delicious…..

    7. Cranky Putz on March 26th, 2007 at 11:48 am
  8. Yeah, they were nice. I never used to order Nan before, because my first experience with it seemed very oily (or maybe that was a bad paratha in Apsara in Trinidad). But I do like them now and this one was good :-)

    8. chennette on March 26th, 2007 at 7:49 pm
  9. The nans did look lovely. I see though you are working hard you may be eating well–enough :). Just trying to keep up with you it’s a good thing I eat before reading your blog otw look out scale, cos it would really make me hungry. anyway ah tired…they have those same serving type dishes here too at Passage to India and Akbar so there must be a supply place somewhere. LOL. :)

    9. Rone on March 28th, 2007 at 11:20 pm
  10. Hey Rone – we’ll have to go try those Indian restaurants in Jamaica to see if the food also matches the dishes 😀 Most of these food forays were from January and early February. I now have internet, and therefore time to post about it, thereby pretending that my life is filled with such satisfying leisurely pursuits. Ah the good false life 😉

    10. Chennette on March 28th, 2007 at 11:25 pm
  11. Well you know I’m almost always up for an outing…though we still have to do the Gap the next time you are here—since the atmosphere alone is worth it. Plus u need to see the ‘ills hup close. 😉 The good false life doesn’t look all that bad from here :)

    11. Rone on March 29th, 2007 at 10:38 pm
  12. psst… jamaican blogger seems to be defunct

    12. The TriniGourmet on March 30th, 2007 at 10:44 am
  13. I noticed that last week, but I was waiting to see if he was going to resurrect himself. He used to comment and ting, and read the blog, so didn’t want to write him off just so.

    13. chennette on March 30th, 2007 at 10:46 am
  14. You have a very nice blog here…

    14. Sushma on March 31st, 2007 at 3:24 am
  15. Hi Sushma – thanks. Your site is not too bad either 😉

    15. chennette on March 31st, 2007 at 12:17 pm
  16. FYI. Zafran has closed – thank goodness. They had a bad attitude in there. And Apsara, which was great, burnt down but is now being rebuilt, so should be open next year. Haven’t been to Sitar for a while, but your comments have put me in the mood.

    17. BajanGirl on November 28th, 2007 at 4:09 pm
  17. Hey BajanGirl. Thanks for the info. Zafran’s reputation or marketing seemed to be lots better than their actual food!
    I’d heard about the Apsara fire and was very concerned, because I liked their attitude, location and decor (I have to admit I really frequented Tamnak Thai upstairs though…).
    I still have some long long outstanding posts about other Bajan restaurants that I have to get up here – Opa! and the like.

    18. chennette on November 28th, 2007 at 4:25 pm
  18. I have been wondering what the food was like here. After reading your review I will try it. Eating out here is hit and miss most times and good reasonably priced restaurants are hard to find.

    19. islandgal246 on July 31st, 2009 at 5:19 pm
  19. Hope it’s good still – I haven’t been back in a long long time.

    20. Chennette on July 31st, 2009 at 5:27 pm

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