A neuroscientist wanted a better Indian restaurant in Homburg, so she opened one
Stars and Stripes January 25, 2024
Restaurant Vaishnavi was born out of frustration and passion.
Rashmi Katiyar moved to Germany more than 10 years ago and eventually completed her doctorate in neuroscience at Saarland University, where she continues to do research.
“At the same time, I am crazy about food,” said Katiyar, who struggled to find food that matched what she loved from her native Kanpur, in northern India.
She opened the restaurant in Homburg with her husband, Jenarthanan Chennai, in the fall of 2022, and since then it’s garnered high ratings on Google and in social media posts within the nearby U.S. military community.
Greek frescoes adorn the Mediterranean-style white walls, layered with brick in some places. Vaishnavi used to be a Greek restaurant and Katiyar said she liked the decor so much, she and her husband decided not to change it. Bright Indian textiles cover the tables.
Katiyar says she emphasizes fresh ingredients in her food whenever possible, even if it takes more time. I could really appreciate that, especially after eating a curry recently at a different Indian restaurant that tasted like the Styrofoam container it came in.
The menu has some surprising regional variety. Few, if any, other restaurants between Kaiserslautern and Homburg serve south Indian-style dosa, a crispy crepe generally made from rice and lentil batter, and served with various fillings.
I asked Katiyar, who is vegetarian, for her recommendation, and she said one of her favorites is the baingan bharta, or roasted eggplant. My friend ordered the tried-and-true chicken tikka masala.
The first thing I noticed when the meals arrived was the color. This isn’t a place where you get the same dull sauce ladled over your main ingredient.
Both dishes used north Indian spices, Katiyar said, but the tikka masala curry was orange and creamy. A dry-style, brown curry mix held the chopped eggplant, onion, ginger and garlic together.
Both dishes had complex yet distinct flavors and I’d say the tikka masala was the best I can remember having. The moderate heat didn’t overpower the flavors in the slightly sweet yogurt-tomato sauce. One portion wasn’t enough for the two of us.
On the other hand, one of the two orders of garlic naan we received filled both of us up quite nicely.
On special occasions, the restaurant has a buffet, the dates for which are posted on Facebook. It’s usually easy to get a table at lunch time. Reservations are recommended for dinner, which is how it should be when a restaurant is doing things right.
Address: Schanz Strasse 1, Homburg, Germany
Hours: Monday to Tuesday and Thursday through Sunday, noon-2 p.m. and 5-10:30 p.m.; closed Wednesdays
Prices: Vegetarian dishes start at 11.90 euros; lamb and fish dishes range from about 14.90 to 16.90 euros; chicken dishes start at 12.90 euros. Most credit cards accepted.
Information: Phone: 06841 777-7085/089; Online: vaishnavi.de