Located in the heart of downtown Waco, near Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits, is the newly opened Stone Hearth Indian Café. Since its opening in June, Stone Hearth has brought an excellent and fresh dining option to Waco.
Upon entry, you are delightfully overwhelmed with the smells of curry, ginger and chili pepper. The walls are decorated beautifully with authentic and realistic decorations. The intricate murals and paintings depict some of India’s most beloved sights like the Taj Mahal and the Ganges River. Natural light from the street floods the space, creating the perfect atmosphere for a good meal. Indian music plays softly overhead while the Indian television shows allow guests to appreciate Indian media.
I ordered Hyderabadi Biryani with an order of chicken samosas. I grabbed a seat from the variety of seating options, from single seating at the bar to long tables conducive for group eating. The restaurant’s presentation is impressive. The food came out on brightly colored plates and the sauces were served in a clay pot. My food was warm and the steam shimmied off the plate.
Hyderabadi Biryani is a south Indian specialty made with goat and lamb, cooked in spices and then layered with biryani rice before being oven-baked. The dish was advertised as being particularly spicy, but I did not find that to be the case. The dish was actually quite bland, but when I added the yogurt sauce, it brought out all of the dish’s flavors. For me, eating goat meat for the first time was intimidating, but it was tasty. The dish was served with three slices of naan bread. Naan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread typically served in Indian cuisine. I would recommend this dish to those who haven’t had Indian food before, but are willing to get a little adventurous and cultivate their palette.
The chicken samosas were my favorite part of my meal. Samosas are made of fried dough filled with either vegetables or meat. My chicken samosas was served with mint chutney and sweet tamarind sauce. The samosas were a good size and they burst with flavor when you bite into them. I recommend order samosas to complement any meal you choose.
One of my favorite things about Stone Hearth was the diversity of the restaurant staff. There was not only south Asians working behind the counter, but people from all backgrounds. It is exciting to see new restaurants showcase traditionally underrepresented food options. Stone Hearth is a mirror of a new Waco: people from all walks of life working together to create something delicious. I would encourage everyone, especially Baylor students, to branch out and explore this new dining option. Stone Hearth is open every day of the week from 11 a.m. – 12 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. on Sundays. You will not be disappointed.