Viceroy is one of my favorite spots in Durham – I’ve been here several times and have yet to be disappointed. Taking its name from the leader of provinces in India formerly under the crown’s rule, the restaurant blends flavorful Indian cooking with savory British pub fare in a contemporary way. Whether you’re in the mood to order some of everything and split it with your friends or sip some freshly prepared cocktails, you can find it here.
A few Saturdays ago, I was sitting at home and a friend texts me to ask if I’d like to meet her and some others downtown. When I arrived, she told me they were also all sitting at home when she said, “I’m kind of feeling Viceroy. You know who’s always down to go there?” and my two other friends replied in unison: “Rhonda!” Thus, the evening’s plans were formed. Everyone had already ordered drinks by the time I got there and they were just coming out as I sat down. The Mumbai Mule ($11), as the name suggests, is cross-cultural spin on the classic Moscow Mule made with Tanqueray Rangpur instead of vodka. Also being served was the Pimm’s Cup ($10) made with gin-based liqueur, lemon, lime, orange, and ginger beer. Both were light and refreshing and had just the right amount of kick. In addition to the cocktails, a friend had ordered a Beetroot Lassi ($4). I’ve had mango lassi before, but I was so intrigued by the beautiful purple concoction in front of me. The cool, creamy texture paired beautifully with the sweet, earthy flavor of the beets.
In no time, it felt like the food was arriving – especially for a Saturday. I ordered the Triple C ($8), which is chickpeas, cherry tomato, roasted potato, and corn on a bed of lettuce topped with a chimichurri dressing. This dish is on the small plate section of their menu so if you order it, definitely get something to go with it (garlic naan ($5) is always a great choice!). That being said, the flavors were definitely not small in any way – the textures all went so well together and the whole dish was strong and bright. I’m the kind of person who feels like my meal isn’t complete without some type of meat, but this was immensely satisfying.
Two of the members of our group ordered the Cumberland Fries ($11) and Sausage Rolls ($9) to split as their meal. The fries tasted like a British/Indian poutine – loaded with Cumberland English sausage and British pub curry sauce, this dish would make a great side or appetizer and was served in a huge portion. The sausage rolls were to die for; I love flaky pastry, savory ground meat, aromatic herbs – they’re a winning combination. These contained ground pork, mustard, thyme, and rosemary, all wrapped in pastry and served with mustard aioli. They did appear to be a little burnt on the ends, but it was honestly not even noticeable once it was off the plate and in my mouth.
Last but certainly not least was one of the daily specials, the Aloo Tikki Chaat. This dish begins with a base of spiced potato patties topped with chickpeas, onions, tomatoes, green chutney, tamarind chutney, and yogurt. This is another dish that, like the Triple C, felt so savory and filling that it was hard for a carnivore like me to believe it was vegetarian. The explosion of flavor made me jealous that I hadn’t ordered it – I’d love to go back and see it written up on the specials board again.
To finish the meal, the four of us ordered a caramel tart to share. It was served with a decorative caramel drizzle, mint, and powdered sugar. The tart itself reminded me of those old-school Goetze caramel candies with the cream in the middle – it was a small pastry crust filled with gooey caramel and marbled with sweet cream. One friend didn’t care for it, so that left more for the rest of us!
Bottom line: absolutely make your way over to Viceroy. It’s in a great part of downtown and you can walk to anything else you’d want to do on a night out or just dip in for a quick dinner and head back home. They’re going to be represented at Sip+Savor at DPAC this November. It probably won’t be long before I’m back again.
335 W Main St
Durham, NC 27701