Sartaj, London WC2
I’m not sure how big your family is but chances are the Sartaj in London’s West End is used to welcoming very large ones. Its family nan (£4.95 plus £1 if you want it stuffed with garlic, onion, cheese, coriander or mince meat) is ridiculously large at something like 60cm long by 40cm wide but it’s worth ordering just for the experience.
At first glance it looks like a giant pizza and next time I shall order one and pile three or four different curries on it, so maybe it could develop into one eventually. Either way, the elephant ear – as it was dubbed – was certainly enjoyed by the Greenwich Curry Club’s special guest, Prince William, who made an appearance to confer royal status to the curry club.
In terms of value, when you consider a normal-sized nan is £2.50, the family nan is exceptional value. But there is good value to be found on all parts of the menu at Sartaj.
The Tandoori Mix for two (£5.95) has sizzling portions of chicken tikka, sheek kebab, king prawn and fried onions, which sends a delicious aroma around this smallish curry house, while the Tandoori Lamb Chops (£3.95) was nice and meaty (although it lacked that deep tandoori taste so it could have benefited from a longer period of marinating). One twist was that puree starters – Chicken Chat Puree and Kebab Bashiri (both £3.95) – were served rolled up in the fried bread, rather than being placed flat on the bread as in most other restaurants.
All mains were served in beautiful deep dishes – ideal, in fact, for dipping in chunks of the family nan (which never seems to get any smaller no matter how many bits are torn off it). Thumbs up go to the Bengal Crab and King Prawn Curry (£10.50), its sauce thickened nicely by a generous amount of shredded crab and good amount of fair-sized prawns, and Nawabi Lamb Massala (£10.50) with its soft meat falling off a shank into a thick and dark bhuna sauce. Both meals are fit for a Prince.
Sartaj, 26 Earlham Street, London, WC2 H9LN. Tel: 020 7831 1413. Open: Mon–Wed noon–2pm and 5.30pm–midnight, Thur–Sun noon–midnight.
Food ① ② ③ ④
Decor ① ② ③
Value ① ② ③ ④
Atmosphere (Tuesday night) ① ② ③
Service and friendliness ① ② ③