We, Ram Pai & Suguna Pai have been serving delicious Indian Food to Richmond connoisseurs of Indian cuisine since 1991 when we opened our first venture, India House Restaurant on Westwood Avenue.
Ram is from the Malabar region of India (from Kerala state) and that brings authenticity to our menu that’s exemplified by his regional favorites. In addition to the extensive menu and elaborate list of buffet items, the chalkboard menu of daily specials will titillate your taste buds and satisfy the cravings of Indian food.
At Malabar Indian Cuisine, we offer variety of southern Indian vegetarian delicacies such as varieties of Masala Dosas and Mysore Dosas, various snacks like Masala vada, Vegetable samosa, Aloo Bonda, the big exquisite list goes on and on.. North Indian dishes like Palak Paneer, Baingan Bhartha & Chicken Tikka Masala bring patrons again and again for those items.
Kerala fish curry is a big hit among the regulars; so is the Malabar shrimp curry. We offer quality lunch buffet Tuesday through Sunday and receive rave reviews from the local Indian community.
We offer great wines from South Africa, New Zealand and South America, along with cool beers like King Fisher, Taj Mahal and Haywards 5000.
Malabar Indian Cuisine was selected by Richmond Magazine as one of the “Best New Restaurants” that opened in 2004. In their words, “You’ll feel like we’ve let you in on a special secret once you’ve tried this hidden gem.”
Do come and enjoy Indian Cuisine at Malabar with a platter of flavors, warm hosts and service with a smile. We are now Online. Order online Now !!!!
Here you will come to know a bit about our journey into the hearts of Richmonders, via the taste buds and stomach.
We, Suguna & Ram Pai, established India House, West End's first Indian restaurant, in 1991 on Westwood Avenue. We wanted to play it safe and therefore were closer to midtown and northside. Within 6 months, we had created a good awareness of popular North Indian cuisine with savory favorites such as Butter chicken, Palak Paneer, Chhole, biryanis; and added to which were the popular breads such as Naan, Roti & paratha. A surefire hit.
Style Weekly was instrumental in showcasing our menu and talents within the Fan area. Very soon after good reviews from Style, we had regular diners who were artists, young students and faculty from VCU/MCV. The local Indian population was happy to have us here. The VA Fine Arts museum with it's Friends of Indian Art regularly had dinners and meetings at India House. Catering within the Indian community helped us establish a solid base.
We had a successful 13 yrs at India House and the clientele was 90% American, willing to try a new cuisine. We made good friends within the Fan community. The first year we received Best New Restaurant 1992 from the Times Dispatch, Best Ethnic Restaurant from Style weekly 1992 and subsequently we got awards each year for our tasty food, good service and presence.
Gradually we felt the need to move to west-end and focus on south Indian cuisine, so close to our heart especially since we both were from South. Meanwhile 3-4 other Indian restaurants came up within 5mile raius, serving similar menu as us.
The idea for MALABAR was born. We wanted to serve real Indian food, allow the spice level up a few notches, and wanted to primarily serve South Indian food, close to our heart. Both of us being Southerners, we felt our dosas were healthy, tasty, and something new for local Richmonders.
Our family was growing, we visited India with Priya every 2 years, and going to Kerala and Mangalore was a big high for all of us. When the opportunity to get a place in Wellesley came up, we took the step ahead. Coming to lauderdale Drive where all the action was going to be in the early 2000's, was an experiment. Also, we were aware of the slow but steady influx of software whizzes coming to the far West end from Bangalore, Hyderabad, Tamilnadu and many cities of India. Luckily, we had excellent chefs from Tamilnadu, trained in Madras catering college, who set up the kitchen and menu for our pet project. We were confident of finding our niche. God willing we could turn Ozbog's into an Indian gem.
We focused on traditional food and recipes, did not tone down spice level to suit the American palate. We wanted to serve dosas, idli, vada, uttapams, and yummy sambar, lots of veggie dishes in the buffet. Today with the support of this Indian community we are able to live this dream. Hard work paid off, we got rave reviews in Times Dispatch, Best New Restaurant 2004, award from Richmond Magazine, Best Ethnic Restauarnt 2006, etc.
Our menu features a variety of chicken, lamb and seafood but we would love to introduce our customers to more vegetarian dishes in future. Indians use a variety of lentils and pulses in many ways also fresh veggies such as cauliflower, carrot, beans, squash, and potatoes; root vegetables like tapioca, and beets. When in India, we do not miss eating meat. There is a plethora of fresh vegetables and fruit. We use mango, pineapple, papayas in cooking and nuts such as almonds, cashew and peanuts. Rice is prepared in so many different ways.... at Malabar we serve tamarind rice, lemon rice, Veggie/lamb/chicken biryani, Tomato rice. Check out some of these popular dishes at Ellwood Thompson's during their Indian Wednesdays.
We are in tune with trends as far as cuisine goes. We serve a popular lunch buffet and have our customers making requests for certain favorites. Sometimes it is easy to comply. We do rely on basic recipes and techniques for southern recipes specially the dosa batter which comprises of rice flour and white lentils. This is fermented overnight and we prepare enough batter for 100 dosas at a time. We take care to use quality Indian spices and flours. The Vietnamese stores and local Indian grocers are a good source for everything we need.