Assad Cafe is a cozy little Indian restaurant along UN Ave., Manila. They have two menus: one featuring regular cafeteria fare (i.e. not Indian), and the other with authentic Indian cuisine.
The restaurant is clean and air-conditioned, with a few tables available for customers and a counter at the far end. Customers go in, take a seat, and wait for the staff to come take your orders. The staff are generally friendly and welcoming, but if you come at lunch time, the place is crowded and so the staff might not be able to immediately accommodate you. It's best to come here if you have the luxury of time to just sit back, relax, and enjoy the delicious food.
And of course, the food. Assad Cafe serves a lot of the usual Indian dishes but in true Indian style, seeing as the store is owned by a Pakistani immigrant (who owns Assad Mini-mart nearby, as well). We ordered mutton biryani, Kashmiri fish curry, and mutton quorma. The order taker will ask how spicy you would like your food as well so if you can't handle spicy food, you don't have to shy away from the curries.
Unfortunately, while we were there, they ran out of chapati and naan, as well as chicken and beef, perhaps because of the holiday. (This never happened during my previous visits so I'm pretty sure it's not a common occurrence.) Despite this, we still had a good time because we liked their other dishes anyway.
Assad's version of biryani is excellent, as the rice is light and flavorful without being too oily and heavy on the stomach. The meat is tender and doesn't give off the usual pungent aroma of mutton that may be discouraging for some.
Kashmiri fish curry is a tangy curry dish made with battered fried fish fillet and pineapples, which provide an interesting sweet and sour contrast to the curry spices.
Quorma is another curry dish which you can order with beef or mutton. The sauce is thicker and creamier as well, with the addition of yogurt or coconut milk; it would go great with some chapati!
Mango lassi is a yogurt shake, which is nice and refreshing especially as a complement to the spicy curry. You can also order it plain (without the mango) in sweet or salty.
All in all, it was a great and affordable meal. The servings are pretty big, and the korma even came with rice.
(Visit "The Lunch Buddies" for photos! http://thelunchbuddies.blogspot.com/2010/11/assad-cafe.html)