Fluorescent bulbs, plastic tablecloths flapping in the breeze of a grimy fan, football on the mounted TV, and a pile of coconuts on the corner table — it’s the unaesthetic, unassuming, and frankly unbelievable Balgladeshi restaurant in Palapaso, Queen Tundriee.
(How do you spell her name? I’ve seen Queen Tundriee and Queen Tanduri, both from the restaurant, and know English-speakers also write it Queen Tandoori.)
This post begins a semi-regular series in which I spotlight the cafes, bars, and restaurants I love in Dili.
I knew Queen Tundriee had to come first when, on my first weekend back in Dili, Felix and I tried unsuccessfully for half an hour to find the restaurant’s current phone number to order takeaway to Bidau — of all the dishes at all the restaurants in our suburb, in this city, her bindi masala was the only thing we wanted to eat.
We weren’t successful, which was ultimately good news — our failure to find the number for takeaway meant we visited the restaurant to dine in last night. Two years away and she’s as good as ever — a huge menu of curries, dhals, dosa, tandoori meats, biryani, naans, teas, coconuts, beers, soda — served prettily in little bowls and priced from just a couple of dollars. Felix and I spent $20 on a meal of samosa, two curries, dhal, garlic naan, chapati, and, somehow, four drinks between the two of us.
The food is simple and wonderfully salty (I repeat, four drinks) — thick gravies, well-cooked lentils in straightforward sauces, nothing very spicy, but everything very tasty. Felix’s enduring favourite is the bindi masala, okra, which was unfortunately unavailable last night — but we weren’t without choice and ordered dhal fry, aloo gobi, and palak paneer to share (and then take home leftovers for lunch today), with crispy-spicy vegetable samosa and our naan.
I’m disparaging about the restaurant’s ambience, but I do prefer eating in to taking away. Service is hands-off but attentive when you need it, and there’s something to be said about watching your coconut get sliced open before you, and eating samosas hot out of the oil, and wandering to the fridge yourself when you think you know what it’s a Tuesday and it’s time for a beer, and you’re under the fan with a cold-enough Bintang knowing your dinner’s on its way for a handful of small change and everything feels good.
Visit Queen Tundriee
Previously ‘opposite Tiger Fuel’ (RIP), now nearby landmarks are the BNCTL branch, the Jardim Infantil football field, and the offices of media companies Timor Post and GMN.
+670 77355629 (WhatsApp with this number) or +670 77051392