One of the first things people think of when they think of India is bright color, and walking into the newly updated INDIAN PARADOX on Divisadero, you’re going to get a blast of color, along with bold patterns, new lighting, and design whimsy. Owner and wine director Kavitha Raghavan worked with artist and interior designer Lorena Zertuche (co-owner of the vibrant Loló) to update the three-year-old space, and she has infused the wine bar with her trademark visual energy and clever use of materials.
Anyone who has traveled to India will immediately recognize the truck mural and artwork on the wall, an homage to the over-the-top adorned trucks you’ll see all over India, complete with a humorous “Blow Horn,” but leave it to Zertuche to add colorful milk crates which form a visual truck bed of wine shelving. It made me chuckle.
There are now upholstered and patterned banquettes in the window nooks, bright pillows, a checkered pattern under the bar, repurposed woven Indian floor mats that adorn the walls, and don’t miss the colorful turban installation above the doorway. So many playful touches and things to catch your eye.
There’s nothing like a new look to inspire some other changes, like new glassware to showcase Kavitha’s wine pairings. She’s so passionate about pairing wine with her region-hopping menu of Indian street food dishes, and now with chef Maribel Palomo, they have created a new tasting menu to take things to the next level. With the new four-course menu, you can sit back and enjoy the chaat experience for $35 per person, or go for chaats with four half-pour/2.5 oz. ($55) or four full-glass/5 oz. ($75) pairings for each course, which include both New and Old World wines.
Some sample pairings include the can’t-miss sundal (warm garbanzos with mustard seeds, curry leaves, asafetida, shredded coconut, and unripe mango) paired with a Hannes Sabathi 2017 sauvignon blanc from Austria. Another fun one is the dahi sev puri (semolina puffs filled with jaggery and mint chutneys topped with yogurt, sev, and cilantro) paired with the Ciu Ciu, 2013 sangiovese from La Marche.
I love coming in on a whim here (it’s a no reservations kind of joint), grabbing a seat at the bar so I can chat with Kavitha, but the new window seats are definitely going to be the hot ticket for date night.
Have you had Indian Paradox’s fab Saturday brunch yet? I’m obsessed with the egg akuri (soft-scrambled eggs cooked with Parsi masala, ginger, garlic, turmeric, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro, served with buttered toast). Who can say no to something called disco fry eggs? (You shouldn’t—just say “yes.”) The place is going to be so cute in the daytime. And starting January 20th, 2019, they’ll be extending brunch service to Sundays too (11am-2pm).
Dinner served Tue-Thu 5pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm. Come on by for some color therapy. 258 Divisadero St. at Haight.
The colorful and patterned new look (and nooks) at Indian Paradox. Photo: Grace Sager Photography.