Located on an unassuming Händelstraße, Ginti is a halal Indian restaurant in Cologne, which serves traditionally brewed, authentic Indian tea. If you are a chai aficionado, you know how hard and rare it to find a restaurant that brews tea, with milk. I have been to this place about five times already, and am ready to pen down my review for you.
Location and Interiors:
Ginti is located on a quiet street, with a few other restaurants in the neighbourhood. There is paid parking along the sidewalk, and the closest train station would be Rudolfplatz. It’s a spacious restaurant, with earthy interiors punctuated with red accents. Textured walls are adorned with statues and masks, and there is an impressively equipped mini bar if you fancy cocktails. Toilet is in the basement, and you can get a table for two to 10. Reservations are recommended if you are a large group.
Ginti has an extensive menu, and you will be spoilt for choices. Whether you want to snack of desi small plates or a three course meal, you will find almost everything that you’d expect an Indian restaurant to offer. Starters include samosa and pakoras, soups and salads for appetisers; there is an extensive variety of vegetarian dishes, followed by house specials. Then there are chicken and tandoori dishes, along with rice offerings, bread menu, and traditional specialities (like Madras, Dhansak and Vindaloo). You can end the meal with a sweet treat, like gulab jamun or firni, or with a cup of coffee or tea. You can view the entire menu here.
There is an obvious distinction between Pakistani and Indian cuisine, and their respective taste. Having said that, Ginti does a wonderful job at bridging the gap. Most dishes can be spiced up on request, while keeping the authenticity and taste intact. Also, portions are generous, and can be shared. I have tried chaats, chicken curries, samosas, parathas, firni, pani puri and biryani, among other things, and only found pakoras disappointing.
I’d categorise it as an average-priced restaurant. A meal for two adults, with normal appetite, would cost approximately €40-€50. It can go up if you add drinks or down if your share starters and dessert. It might be tad bit pricy (chai is €3 a cup), but I find it worth it. A little birdie told me that the management recently changed hands, and the new management might have upped the prices a little. But nothing that would break the bank.
It’s attentive, without being overbearing. Servers are often seen doing rounds, and can be hailed by raising a hand. However, funny as it may sound, getting the bill takes the longest. Everytime that I have been to the restaurant, it takes a while for my server to produce the bill. I have no idea why.
The fact that I have already been down a couple of times says it all. I enjoy the food and ambiance, consider it worth the price, and would recommend you to check it out at least once if you like Indian food.