October 1, 2018

Dear Patron:

We hope all is well with you and your loved ones. The business at Ajanta last month was a little slow. Looking at our history, things start to pick up as we approach Christmas.

All the dishes introduced last month were very well received. Murg Mumtaz Mahal was an instant hit! Scallop Curry and Paneer Kofta have been doing quite well.

The minimum wage will increase in Berkeley starting October 1, 2018. While we fully support everyone earning a living wage, we dislike having to pass on the increased cost. We hope you do not mind the nominal price increase (about 3 to 4%) reflected in our October menu. We believe that even with this price increase, Ajanta food will continue to be a great value.

During this time of the year, we are known for hosting wine pairing dinner. We are going to be hosting in November to celebrate Diwali. The dates are November 6th and 8th, 2018.

We will celebrate Diwali at Ajanta by decorating the restaurant with lights and glitter, lighting up extra candles on each table, and serving complimentary “mithai” at the end of the meal. Mithai are traditional Indian sweets consumed by everyone in India during Diwali days.

We will offer a special Prix Fixe menu with wine complement. The finalized menu will be sent out in our next newsletter. It will include a taste of some of the best dishes on the menu: three different appetizers, four main dishes and all the sides. The wine complement will consist of 3 ounce pour of one red wine, two white wines, and a dessert wine. Wines are premium quality, selected from our wine list to pair with menu offerings. The price, including wine pairings, will be $46.00 for non-vegetarian and $43 for vegetarian menu. Reservation is highly recommended. Please call us at (510) 526-4373 or book a table via Opentable, please mention that you are coming for Diwali dinner. We look forward to seeing you soon.

The following dishes will be introduced for the month of October 2018:


Rogan Josh: This is a well-known lamb dish from North India. The name of the dish is derived from the red color ('rogan' in Hindi) of its sauce. The sauce gets its red color from the combined use of tomatoes, special Kashmiri 'Deghi' chiles, and a natural red color called 'Rattanjog', which is made from the bark of a tree native to Kashmir.  'Rattanjog' is not available in this country. Therefore, here at Ajanta we will be substituting saffron in its place to add a rich flavor and color to the sauce. In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, the sauce contains yogurt, ginger, garlic, onions, paprika, and turmeric. Boneless cubed leg of lamb is simmered in this sauce untill tender and the dish is finished off with a sprinkle of a special garam masala (a mixture of mace, nutmeg and cardamom powder) giving it a very exotic aroma.

Mangalore Chicken Curry: Named after the city of Mangalore, located in South India, this chicken dish has many flavors that distinguish South Indian cuisine - coconut, fenugreek, mustard seeds, peppercorns, and dried whole red chile peppers. Boneless organic chicken pieces are sautéed and then simmered in a sauce made with onions, lemon juice, coconut milk, garlic and spices. The spices include cumin, coriander, turmeric, and paprika. As is common in South India, the spices are roasted whole and then ground up just before being added to the sauce, giving the sauce a distinctive flavor not found in North Indian curries.

Daal Bahar: This is a nutritious and tasty vegan dish made with masoor daal (red lentils) and vegetables. Lentils are soaked and then cooked with some turmeric until done. Separately, onions are sautéed and spiced with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, coriander powder, paprika, asafetida, and vegetables including carrots, green beans, cauliflower and peas. The vegetables and lentils are then briefly cooked together and flavored with lemon juice and curry leaves. A healthy, low-calorie, nutritious and tasty dish!

The following dishes will be discontinued to make room for the new dishes:

  1. Sufed Maas

  2. Chicken Mulligatawney

  3. Vendaka Pachdi Masala

It is always a pleasure to see you at Ajanta.


Lachu Moorjani
Executive Chef                                            

Pratik Thapa
General Manager