Take a trip into Indian cuisine at Peacock in Cary
Posted August 26, 2015
Updated August 27, 2015
Cary, N.C. — Not far from the region’s international gateway, Raleigh-Durham International Airport, one’s palate can travel to India. Though instead of by plane, you travel by car to the Cary’s Carpenter Village shopping center. It is here you will find the Peacock’s Triangle location hidden here. At first, I thought my GPS had led me astray. But as I opened my car door, a rich curry aroma filled my nose. That’s the confirmation I needed to know I am at right spot.
While the neighborhood feel was odd for me (it is in the middle of a residential community), there’s a reason why the Peacock selected this location. Restaurant owner Vinay Toomu wanted Peacock’s guests to feel at home. Combined with the cozy atmosphere, it would bring a sense of eating home-cooked meals inside.
The menu is segmented like a traditional restaurant menu into Small Plates, Dosa, Specials, Curries, Desserts and Beverages. One of the most popular Indian cuisine small plates is samosa. For those not familiar with Indian cuisine, samosa is very similar in concept to an empanada, perogi, dumpling or a stuffed pocket. The samosa was served with two sauces: mint chutney and tamarind sauce. I enjoy a sauce with some texture. Therefore, I took the mint chutney and spread it over the samosa. It gave the savory item an additional sweet and juicy texture.
My visit was during a weekday lunch. During this time, guests can order a lunch special. What I found common with Indian restaurants is meal selections are either a vegetarian or non-vegetarian selection. While the protein may differ, both specials came with rice, phulka, and malabar paratha. The malabar paratha (also called parrota in some areas) is like a thin sheet of bread that is crisp like a cracker. Topping it with the stew-like items was one of my favorite things to do. The phulka (also called roti or chapatti) is another bread like item, which I found similar to a pita or thick tortilla. I followed the same process with the malabar paratha and spread the stew-like items on top. But instead of just eating it, I rolled it up like a roll-up and nosh small bites.
Wanting to see the diversity of a vegetarian and non-vegetarian special, I selected one of each. The non-vegetarian special was a southern Indian favorite, Chettinad Shrimp Masala. What I liked about this dish is it a familiar tomato base with a nice kick. This went well with the rice giving something close to a creole feel to it. The vegetarian special selection made was the Palak Paneer. Served in Northern
India, this dish is similar to saag (think ‘creamed spinach’) with paneer added to it. Paneer is a cottage cheese common in Indian cuisine. My typical choice is usually non-vegetarian. But, I enjoyed the palak paneer, as the paneer was delicious (I love cheese).
The other common items between the two dishes were Tomato Dal and Carrot Halwa. This Tomato Dal is a low cooked lentil dish that was sautéed with mustard and mixed in a tomato paste. Again, I enjoyed this vegetarian dish. What I liked with the earthy spices, like Cardamom, which is to me a trademark of Indian cuisine. The Carrot Halwa was a sweet carrot pudding that had texture and sweetness like mashed sweet potatoes. For a sweet ending, the lunch ended with galub jamun. This tasted similar to a sweet milk soaked fritter. The only problem was I wish I had more.
While eating I was able to see an item that will be on my next visit. An Indian woman nearby ordered Dosa. The Dosa looked like a large baguette, but had the density of a crepe. As she broke it in pieces for the younger children with here, you sensed the paper-thin texture of the Dosa. Inside it is stuffed with potatoes and combined with other Indian flavors like Masala and Paneer. Another item that looked good is Biriyani. This looked like a nice assortment of fried rice paired with various proteins. Again, both items look like items I would order on subsequent visits.
In addition to the Indian cuisine, you will also find some authentic Indian beverages. For something with a smoothie or yogurt texture, the Mango Lassi is what you should order. Sometimes, Indian food can be very spicy. The dairy in the Lassi will help cool your palate. Other drinks include Maaza (which comes in Mango and non-dairy) and Limca, which is a refreshing lemon-lime soda. For something with alcohol, you can find Kingfisher, Taj Mahal and Flying Horse beer.
On weekends and weekday dinner service, the lunch specials menu is removed and replaced with chef’s creations. Toomi mentioned their regular menu features some of the best and favorites of the chef. These dinner specials feature items the chefs would like to try out or play to other strengths not on the menu.
While the restaurant recently opened Thanksgiving 2014, it is looking to expand. The Peacock looks to spread its wings and go mobile. The owner mentioned they are still working on some of the details.
Interesting fact: The peacock is India’s national bird.