Tulan Kan Restaurante Indu
published feb 17th, 2015
Adding to San Pedro La Laguna’s already diverse range of restaurants, a new hot spot has recently reopened, specializing in Indian cuisine. Located a short walk from San Pedro’s Santiago Pier, the eatery shares a space with the well-established Tulan Kan Center, which has information about traditional Mayan culture and also serves as an exhibition space for local artists.
The restaurant is run by Englishwoman Tamar Atik, who also does all of the cooking. Atik moved to Lake Atitlan more than five years ago, and spent her time working in different bars and restaurants around town.
“I started doing curries at [the Irish pub] The Clover, and people liked it,” Atik said. After travelling to India in 2014 and spending her free time studying traditional recipes, she came up with the idea of turning her passion into a business.
“My friend has had this place for years, and there was this great free space,” she explained. “I just did a day of selling and food and it went really really well, so I thought, let’s go from here.”
Atik first opened in June last year for a few months during the low season, but then closed the restaurant as she took a vacation. She came back to reopen in January 2015 and the local expat community is more than excited.
Situated on the second floor, the restaurant features a cozy yet open wooden dining area encompassed by leafy trees and a breezy view of the quiet street. Candles inside handmade shades adorn the tables while the menu hangs above, handwritten on a large blackboard. Featuring a handful of different curries and sides, like chapati and samosas, the menu changes frequently to keep things fresh and interesting.
The Aubergine Curry with mushrooms and tomatoes (35Q) had a wonderfully complex flavour that was matched by a menagerie of textures and colors. A classic staple, the Butter Chicken (40Q), was smooth and creamy, laced with tender chunks of chicken breast and just the right hint of cardamom. The Spicy Prawns (45Q) was delightfully bright and full of sharp-tasting spices, which went very well with the raita, a traditional table condiment made with yogurt and fresh cucumber.
While all of the curries come with a portion of rice, there is also the option of homemade naan bread (10Q, 12Q with garlic), which was light and buttery, generously topped with coriander for an extra herbal kick. Along with the usual selection of drinks, they serve an aromatic Chai tea (10Q, 35Q for a pot), creamy and sweet with strong notes of cloves and cinnamon.
Thanks to the small, homely nature of the restaurant, the food gets prepared quickly and is piping hot at the table. Atik has had a very successful start during this year’s high season, and is enthusiastic about the future.
“I want to do the full season, and see what happens,” she said. “I don’t really have any plans to leave San Pedro, as I really like it here, and I really enjoy this business.”
Tulan Kan’s Indian Restaurant can be found across Hostel Tika’aaj, and is open from 4 pm to 10 pm, Wednesday to Saturday.