Review: ROOH.

Authentic tasty Indian isn’t hard to come by in San Francisco with solid choices such as Amber India and Dosa but modern Indian cuisine is something worth looking into.

ROOH just opened a few months ago and I was instantly intrigued by their menu since I didn’t know what half the ingredients listed on it were. Located in the SOMA, the restaurant has a swanky eclectic atmosphere with vibrant colors and a full gorgeous bar.

We started the meal with a few cocktails (we ended up sampling five) and all were enticing and exciting. The cocktail menu is super fun where it’s divided into various sections (bitter, salty, sweet, sour, astringent, and pungent) on a wheel.

Mango Mule: Ketel One Vodka, Ginger Ale, Green Mango, and Murabba. Pink City: Plantation Rum, Guava, Indian Chili, and Rooh Masala.

Chai Punch: Monkey Shoulder, Grapefruit Shrub, Assam Tea, and Spice Blend.

Amuse Bouche: Modern Interpretation of Samosas (8/10).

A fun little bite to start off the meal.

All the Appetizers.

Tuna Bhel with Avocado, Tamarind, Puffed Black Rice, and Radish (8/10).

The luscious ruby red pieces of raw tuna really went well with the crispy pieces of puffed rice and creamy avocado. While the togarishi gave this dish more of a Japanese touch, the dish was well balanced with the sweet tangy tamarind dressing.

Fresh Oysters with Pink Guava and Chili Granita, Lemon Foam, and Pickled Turnip (8.5/10).

This was my favorite appetizer by far. Super creamy and crisp hammersley oysters were enhanced with a refreshing light granita, fresh citrusy foam, and a nice crunch from the pickled turnip. Definitely get these.

Lamb Ribs with Apricot Chili Marmalade and Yogurt Chutney (7.5/10).

While these lamb ribs were tender, I wanted the apricot chili marmalade to be more prominent. The cooling yogurt chutney was a good accompaniment to balance out the spicy sweetness of the marmalade.

Potato Tikki with Kale and Spinach Tempura, Sweet and Sour Yogurt Mousse, and Raspberry (7.5-8/10).

Potato tikki are basically potato croquettes which are flavored with various spices. The tempura kale and spinach added a nice crunch and the fresh pieces of raspberry cut through the richness of the dish.

Main Dishes with Sides.

Beef Short Ribs Curry with Turnips and Garlic Mash (7.5-8/10).

While all the appetizers had a more modern approach to Indian cuisine, the main dishes were more on the traditional side. The beef short ribs were unctuous and basically melted in my mouth. I can’t recall the sauce and I remember we were savoring every drop of it like liquid gold.

Butter Chicken with Fenugreek and Red Pepper Makhani Sauce (7.5-8/10).

I mean who doesn’t like butter chicken? It’s a classic and this didn’t disappoint. The charbroiled chicken was swimming in this heavenly sauce that shouldn’t be wasted aka mop it up with rice or naan.

Saffron Rice (7/10).

Normal saffron rice.

Naan Sampler (7/10).

I was actually slightly disappointed with the naan sampler. I could barely taste the difference between them and they were a bit on the dry side.

Avocado Raita (7/10).

Simple, tasty, and a nice condiment to go with all the meat dishes.

Banana Tart Tatin with Caramel, Vanilla Ice Cream, and Sesame Nougat (8/10).

While this dessert does take about 15 minutes to prepare, it’s totally worth it. I love a classic apple tart tatin but their version with banana was right on the money. That golden flaky pastry crust was topped with creamy slices of banana all drenched in sticky caramel. The scoop of silky cool vanilla ice cream and crunchy sesame nougat went perfectly with the warm tart tatin.

Halwa Cake with Cardamon and Pistachio Kulfi, Raisin Gel, and Milk Skin Crisp (7.5-8/10).

This was probably the most “traditional” dessert with halwa (a sweet Indian dish usually consisting of semolina cooked in milk with sugar and cardamon) that was made into a cake with the cardamon and pistachio kulfi (Indian ice cream).

Chocolate Cake with Masala Chai Ice Cream, Hazelnut Chikki, and Buckwheat Crisp (7.5/10).

The chocolate cake was more like a mousse, super rich and creamy. I especially liked the spiced masala chai ice cream.

I was definitely pleasantly surprised by the food at ROOH especially the appetizers and desserts which had a more progressive approach to Indian food. The only thing people might not like are the smaller portion sizes, even the main courses were slightly on the petite side but hey this is San Francisco right? If you’re willing to be adventurous and try some bomb fun Indian cuisine I’d hit up ROOH. My overall rating is a 8/10.

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