Charlton (Kasturi)

1. Reviews (London)

LalMaas_2880x2304 Low Res

10 The Village, Charlton, SE7 8UD

Tel: 020 8319 3439 or 020 8319 3436
E-mail: info@
Sunday–Saturday 5.30pm to 11.30pm
Monday closed

Where is it? In Charlton Village near the historic Charlton House.

How do I get there?
Buses: 53, 54, 422, 380 and 466 all stop nearby.
Train: Charlton train station is a stiff 10-minutes walk up/down the hill of Charlton Church Lane.
Parking: The smallish Village car park is in Torrance Close, a couple of hundred metres away.

What’s their story? Kasturi opened in the City of London in 2002 and was part of the Kohinoor Group os restaurants. It relocated to Charlton a couple of years ago and was named “Best Newcomer” in the Greenwich Curry Club’s Awards 2017.

What’s the menu like? You’ll find all the curry favourites but Kasturi specialises in Pakthoon cuisine from the North-West Frontier state of India. Think influences of North India, Afghanistan and Pakistan around the famous Khyber Pass area so hearty meats, breads and dairy products cooked in style.

Oh, please tell me more…
Popadoms: 60p each and 60p per person for chutneys.
Starters: Lamb Adraki Chops (£5.95), Onion Bhaji (3.50)
Mains: Hyderabadi Lamb Biryani (£10.95), Chicken Tikka, Shahi Gosht (£9.95), Butter Chicken (£8.95), Chilli Pudina Murgh, Keema Mator, Chicken Korma (£7.95)
Sides: Bombay Aloo, Saag Aloo, Mushroom Bhaji (£3.95)
Rice: Pilau Rice (£2.95), Mushroom Pilau (£3.95)
Bread: Peshwari Nan, Keema Nan (£3)
* You will enjoy a 20% off these prices with your Spice Card

Kasturi PDF Menu

Tell me something about one of the dishes… Shahi (meaning Royal) and Gosht (meat) would traditionally be cooked with mutton (sometimes on the bone) but chunks of boneless lamb are now commonly used. The lamb is cooked in a rich, thick gravy and is delicious when eaten with a buttery nan bread. A dish like this was made popular by Bhupinder Singh, who was the Maharaja of Patiala at the turn of the 20th century.

What about drinks? The rather snazzy bar in the middle of the restaurant has a good selection of wines and spirits as well as the popular Cobra in the 660ml bottles

What they say… “Kasturi will accommodate the popular palette with its own Kasturian interpretations as well as providing dishes for the culinary purist.” – Bashir Ahmed, Director and Manager.

What we say… “This restaurant has brought a touch of the class to South East London that is usually only found in the top Indian restaurants in the centre of the capital. We love the food in this stylish restaurant.” – Greenwich Curry Club

What can I enjoy at Kasturi with my Spice Card?
YES 20% Discount • Sunday to Thursday • Eat-in, Delivery & Collection • 12 diners per Spice Card • Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day
NO Friday and Saturday, 20 Dec to New Year’s Day
Minimum for delivery: £25 (after discount)

Isle of Dogs (King of Punjab)

1. Reviews (London)

Lamb Chop Curry

26 Ferry Street, Isle of Dogs, E14 3DT
Tel: 020 7537 7813 or 07902 389870 if landline is busy
Open: Tuesday to Sunday 5pm to 11pm

Where is it? At the tip of the Isle of Dogs, a short distance from Canary Wharf and central Greenwich (via the foot tunnel).

How do I get there?
Walk: Coming from south London the best way to get there is to walk through the foot tunnel near the Cutty Sark
DLR: Island Gardens DLR station is a short walk away.
Buses: they generally loop round the Isle of Dogs and the 135, 550, N550, 277, N277 and D7 all stop near the bottom of Ferry Street.
Parking: There is some street parking and Zipcar bays are right outside for car sharers. Taxis: There are plenty of taxis outside Canary Wharf and Heron Quay stations for the short hop to the tip of the Isle of Dogs where the restaurant is situated.

What’s their story? Owner and chef Tony opened King of Punjab in 2017 and he is passionate about providing authentic Punjabi cuisine. Apart from the odd old-school favourite like Chicken Tikka Masala this is a Punjabi menu, with many of he recipes he uses handed down through his family for generations. The restaurant is above the Ferry House pub and you access it through the pub. You can eat your curry downstairs in the pub if you choose.

What’s the menu like? Punjabi! It’s meaty, hearty, rich and tasty but there is also a decent selection of vegetarian options.

Oh, please tell me more…
Popadoms: Two plain popadoms with chutneys (£1)
Starters: Keema Samosa x2 (£2.95), Jeera Chicken Wings (£4.95), Punjabi Lamb Chops x4 (£7.95)
Mains: Methi Chicken (£6.95), Muttar Keema, Karahi Lamb (£7.95)
Sides: Chaana Aloo Masala, Daal Makhani (£4,95)
Rice: Pulao Rice (£2.50)
Bread: Tandoori Roti, Plain Nan (£1.50)
* You will enjoy a 20% off these prices with your Spice Card

King of Punjab PDF Menu

Tell me something about one of the dishes… “The Lamb Chop Curry has been enjoyed in the Punjab for many years, and was made popular when the Sikh Empire ruled India.” – Tony Chahal, Owner.

What about drinks? The restaurant offers various beers and Orchard Pig Cider on draught, plus a good bottled beer range, including the Indian favourites. There is also a a selection of wines, including sparkling options, as well many of the popular spirits. Tony is pretty relaxed, so if you were enjoying a drink in the pub downstairs before coming up to restaurant you are welcome to finish it off while you are looking at the menu.

What they say… “Too many Indian restaurants in London serve up the same old dishes. I want to provide an authentic Punjabi exprience when it comes to cuisine.” – Tony Chahal, Owner.

What we say… “This is a fantastic addition to the local curry scene. Great food and great views looking across the Thames too. We love strolling through the foot tunnel from Greenwich, enjoying a pint in the pub then going upstairs for some of Tony’s delicious Punjabi food.” – Greenwich Curry Club.

What can I enjoy at the King of Punjab with my Spice Card?
YES 20% Discount • Tuesday to Thursday • Eat-in & Collection • 2 diners per Spice Card.
NO Mother’s Day • Father’s Day • Valentine’s Day • 20 Dec to New Year’s Day
Please note: discount only applies when diners order three courses each (ie. a starter, a main and a desert or side dish)

Bexleyheath, Kent (Masala Inn)

1. Reviews (London)

Masala Inn, Bexleyheath


Out on tour then, eh?
Indeed, right to the fringes of London for this trip. But it’s a really good restaurant and worth the trip. I’ve been here before and thought a second visit was in order.

What did you order?
The pan-fried Scallops and Chilli Ponir to start. The lightly spiced scallops were the business and perfectly cooked. The nice, chunky Ponir was certainly home-made and moreish enough and I could have done with more. The fresh chopped chillies were gobbled up.

Sounds like a good start. What came next?
The Railway Chicken. I’ve had it before and it just had to get a second tasting. The dish is served on the trains of India and with 16 million travellers using them every day it’s fair too assume the dish has been served a fair few times over the years. There is no standard recipe for a Railway Curry because there are thousands of kitchens serving the travellers across the country (although the India Railways did attempt to standardise dishes served on the railways in 2009). Similarly, you’ll find variations from restaurant to restaurant, although all of them are generally thick with chunky ingredients and rustic in style.

Is it hot?
No, Railway Chicken is medium-hot but if you want real heat then look no further than Garlic Naga Chicken. With the fiery sauce from the tiny north-eastern Indian state added to slices of the heat-giving garlic you’ll soon be looking around for a swig of Cobra. Of course, if you are silly enough to order a Chilli Nan to go with it, then you’ll need an extra swig.

Surely no one is daft enough to do that?
Ahem, er no, of course not.


Price check
Drinks: Cobra (pint) £5.50
Popadoms: 75p each
Starters: Scallops £5.95, Chilli Ponir £5.50
Mains: Railway Chicken £11.95, Garlic Naga Chicken £8.75
Rice: Pilau Rice £2.60
Nan: Chilli Nan £2.65

Masala Inn, 220 Broadway, Bexleyheath, DA6 7AU.
Tel: 020 8303 5245 (reservations)

Monday–Thursday 5pm to 11pm
Friday– Saturday 5pm to 11.30pm

You can enjoy savings on food at the Masala Inn with the Spice Card. Get your Spice Card here…
Sunday noon to 2.30pm and 5pm to 11pm

Greenwich (Mogul)

1. Reviews (London)


10 Greenwich Church Street, Greenwich, SE10 9BJ
Tel: 020 8858 6790
Monday–Friday noon to 3pm and 5.30pm to 11pm
Saturday–Sunday noon to 11pm

Where is it? Right in the heart of Greenwich at the Church Street entrance to the famous Market.

How do I get there?
DLR: Cutty Sark DLR station is just over the road.
Train: Greenwich station is a four-minute walk away.
Bus: 177, 180, 188, 199, 386 and N199 stop nearby.
Parking: There is some street parking if you get lucky or the car park behind the Greenwich Picturehouse (accessed off Burney Street) is a short walk away.

What’s their story? The Mogul, the only Indian restaurant in the centre of Greenwich, celebrates its 40th year in business this year. Spread over three floors, it is housed in an attractive four-storey Grade II Listed building dating back to the 17th century. The street-level ground floor is perfect for watching Greenwich life drift by, while smaller groups looking for an intimate atmosphere will be attracted to the downstairs cellar area and its cosy alcoves. The upstairs area is reserved for private dining or special events and can accommodate up to 20 seated diners. Each floor has its own service bar. Note: The Mogul also has another premises, a dedicated takeaway called Mogul Home Dining, in Trafalgar Road.

What’s the menu like? Contemporary and classy, with a modern-take on its sprinkling of old-time favourites. There is a dedicated lunch menu for busy people who are looking for a smaller meal at a decent price.

Oh, please tell me more…
Popadoms: Plain or spicy with chutneys (£1)
Starters: Okra Fries (£4), Onion Bhajis (£4.50)
Mains: Paneer Saslick (£7) Chicken Jalfrezi (£9.50), Acharia Gosht (£10.50), King Prawn Masala (£14.50)
Sides: Channa Masala, Saag Aloo (£4.50), Daal Makhani (£5)
Rice: Pilau rice (£3.50)
Bread: Tandoori roti (£2), naan (£2.70)
Lunch: Aloo Paratha and yoghurt (£6), Selection of wraps (£7)
* You will enjoy a 20% off these prices (eat-in and takeaway, including deliveries) with your Spice Card in the evening from Sunday to Thursday.

Mogul PDF Menu

Tell me something about one of the dishes… The deliciously creamy Punjabi favourite, Daal Makhani, is a dish so packed with energy that it’s been called the marching food of soldiers because of the energy it gives them. It’s cooked with urid lentils and kidney beans, which have to be soaked for hours to make them soft, and then spice and cream are added.

What about drinks? There is wide selection of beers, ciders, wines, spirits and soft drinks. These include draught Cobra and Guinness (on surge), bottled Kingfisher, London Meantime Lager and Magner’s. The well-balanced wine list goes beyond the offerings normally found in Indian restaurants and includes white, red, rosé and sparkling choices from France, New Zealand, Australia, Italy, South Africa, Argentina and Spain.

What they say… “The Mogul has become an institution in the heart of Greenwich. The multiple floors in the restaurant, each with its different vibe, mean we can cater for a wide range of events, whether it’s a business lunch or dinner, an intimate meal for two or a lively night out with friends and family. We are proud to have been serving this beautiful part of London for 40 years.” – Pushvinder Dale, Owner.

What we say… “The Mogul has a long-standing reputation for serving top-quality Indian food and will always be close to our heart as it was the venue for the first-ever Greenwich Curry Club meeting. The alcoves are intimate and full of character for a night out. Order up a selection of dishes from around India such as a Goan Fish Curry, Hyderbadi favourite Lamb Pasanda and a spicy Chicken Chilli Masala and tuck in.” – The Greenwich Curry Club.

What can I enjoy at the Mogul with my Spice Card?
YES 20% Discount • Sun–Thur • Eat-in, Delivery & Collection • 2 diners per Spice Card
NO Mother’s Day • Father’s Day • Valentine’s Day • 20 Dec to New Year’s Day
020 8858 6790 (table bookings and collections) or 020 8858 1500 (deliveries)
Minimum for delivery: £15 (after discount)

Blackheath (Royal Nepalese)

1. Reviews (London)

Royal Nepalese, SE3

There really is very little going on commercially as you come out of Westcombe Park Station – and yet two spice restaurants have continued to operate in this little parade for years. And the reason is quite simple: they are both rather good. Coriander (that’s the one on the right as you exit the station) is well known but make no mistake, the Royal Nepalese, which has been operating since 2004, has plenty of its own fans.

The restaurant was packed on the night the Curry Club visited and with good reason because the food is excellent. So much so that one member declared that his choice was the best curry he had for years (he had the Langtang Lamb, £8.50, by the way). And considering this particular member would be described by Blackadder as the grumpiest Mr Grumpy from Grumpy Street in Grumpy Town this is some compliment.Needless to say, a range of Nepalese dishes dominate to chef’s recommendations such as the well-known green herb lamb dish Nepalese Khutta (£8.50) and the Royal Mismass Karahi (£8.50), an interesting combination of barbequed chicken, lamb, sheek kebab and prawns.

Other thumbs up go must to the large Prawn Puri starter (£5.95) which could be enough for a dinner for some people and the tender Squid starter, while the Chicken Chilli Dry Fry (£8.50) was delicious. As the name suggest, it’s not for those who like their meat smothered in sauce but with a beautiful coating of marinade the chicken is delicious and set off beautifully with chunks of pepper and onion. Needlesss to say it had friends on my table reaching across for a taste of something just a little bit different to the old-school favourites.

Royal Nepalese, 2–4 Station Cres, Blackheath, SE3 7EQ. Tel: 020 8269 0505. E-mail: Open: daily 5.30pm – 11pm.

Scores on the tandoors
Food 8.5
Service and friendliness 9
Decor 8
Vibe 8 (Tuesday night)
Value 8.5

Gurkha’s Inn (Greenwich, SE10)

1. Reviews (London)

Gurkha’s Inn, SE10

The Gurkha’s Inn in Colomb Street has been one of the Greenwich Curry Club’s most visited restaurants over the years, so it was no surprise that it was chosen as a venue again when we recently asked members: “where shall we go for a curry next?” It was also no surprise that owner Giri and his team again came up trumps

Now, when it comes to ordering the food, we all have a friend who orders the same thing every time and the Curry Club is no different. But apart from Biryani Man, the rest of the gathering was determined to avoid the old school favourites and try lesser known (mostly Nepalese) dishes.

And so the table heaved under plates of Tareko Squid starter (spiced and battered, £4.65), a double portion of Sekuwa starter (lamb cutlets, £4.45 per portion) Khasi Bhutuwa (lamb with garlic, green peppers, spring onion, ginger, tomatoes, fresh coriander, £7.75) Hariyo Chicken (a green curry of fresh mint, coriander, green chillies, £7.85), Keema Kukhura (chicken and minced meat cooked with garlic, £8.25) Gurkhali Lamb (lamb with mint and chilli, £7.85) as well as an array of nans, veg and rice sides.

The Khasi Bhutuwa tastes as multi-layered tastewise as its ingredients suggest thanks to its rich sauce and the Keema Kukhura is a delight, with the mince adding a fantastic thick texture to the sauce that covers the chunks of chicken. And the Hariyo Chicken delivers an amazingly fresh taste thanks to the amount of mint and coriander used, even if the green colour is a bit unusual visually.

Gurkha’s Inn, 17 Colomb Street, Greenwich, SE10 9HA. Tel 020 8293 5464. Open: Mon to Thur, 5:30pm – 11pm, Fri and Sat 5pm – midnight, Sun 5pm – 10:30pm.

Scores on the tandoors
Food 9
Service 8.5
Decor 7.5
Vibe 7.5 (Wednesday night)
Value 9

Blackheath (Chinipan)

1. Reviews (London)

Chinipan, SE3

Usually, no matter which corner of London you visit you will find a curry house. So why has there not been one in Blackheath Standard for the last umpteen years? Luckily the rain has come to the desert in the form of Chinipan, a smart Bangladeshi-run place in the premises of the old hardware store.It’s only been open a few months and I’m pleased to see it’s going strong.

The name, meaning sweet leaf, is used on a few of the specials on the menu. I tried the Chinipan Fish Curry (£8.95), with tender, large chunks of salmon. The fish is marinated overnight then sealed in the tandoor for a few minutes before joining the spicy, creamy coconut sauce. A touch of smoked tamarind keeps your taste buds alive throughout.The Chicken Tikka starter (£5.50) was tender and moreish, and a fan of Biryani assured me the chicken version (£10.95) they had was excellent too. It certainly disappeared quickly.

Service is friendly but relaxed and there is an attractive lunch deal (£8.99 for two courses, £10.99 for three) which means it is one of the few local curry places where I often see people eating in the day. The decor is smart, if a little sparse, but it looks as if the team is slowly building a good reputation in this part of SE3.

The restaurant is now fully licensed after a spell of BYO when it first opened at the end of 2016

Chinipan, 15 Old Dover Road, Blackheath, London, SE3 7BT. Tel: 020 8853 5800. Open: daily noon – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm.

Scores on the tandoors
Food 7.5
Decor 6
Service and friendliness 8
Vibe (early Wednesday night) 6
Value 8

Blackheath (Everest)

1. Reviews (London)

Everest, SE3

The residents of Blackheath are, of course, blessed with plenty of good restaurants, and it’s always nice to visit the classy Everest Inn. Beautiful décor and smooth service underpin the excellent food.

It’s hard to resist the Lamb Momos (£5.95) when there’s a Nepalese kitchen. So I didn’t. They were as tasty as ever and complemented by the Beetroot Paneer Parcels (£5.95) – a superb pairing, with the beetroot’s slight crunch and the pastry really adding something extra to the cheese, as well as adding a glorious dash of colour to the plate.

IMG_7559  IMG_7582

But that’s enough veg he cries, we are in a Nepalese after all. Good, hearty meat is called for from this hilly, cold region (Blackheath). Lasun Khursani (£9.95) and Lamb Gurkhali (£10.95) are certainly hearty and both are popular Nepalese dishes.

The Lasun Khursani is a home-style curry cooked with chillies and onions and is up there with a Madras when it comes to heat the menu said, although I’d say the dial was turned down when I tried it. Tasty nonetheless. The Lamb Gurkhali is a similar strength in the hot stakes and also uses chillies. The latter, I’ve noticed is becoming a bit of a favourite as people become more familiar with Nepalese food.

Everest Inn, 41 Montpelier Vale, Blackheath, London, SE3 0TJ. Tel: 020 8852 7872. Open: Sunday to Thursday: 5.30pm – 11pm. Friday to Saturday 5.30pm – 11.30pm.

Scores on the tandoors
Food 8
Decor 9
Service and friendliness 8
Vibe (early Wednesday night) 8
Value 8

Greenwich (Pathiri)

1. Reviews (London)

Pathiri, SE10

Fed up with identikit Indian restaurants and their identikit menus (same old, same old)? Pathiri in Greenwich’s Trafalgar Road could be just what you are looking for. This unassuming little place specialises in Keralan food, the home region of the friendly owner Kutty – and there are plenty of interesting dishes to try.

First up it has to be a couple of the South Indian dosas, the slightly sweet crispy pancakes (think crepes). The Ghee Roast Dosa (£4.75), with a hint of cheese, is a nice way to test the water or go for the more hearty Masala Dosa (£4.99), which is packed with potato, spinach and Nigella seeds (black cumin). The dosas are very large and come with an array of sauces so I’d advise the latter is shared if you don’t want to completely dent your appetite for the main courses.


Masala dosa


Clockwise from top left: Vegetable Korma, Cabbage Thoran, Fish with Cassava, mixing the fish with the sauce, the sauce for the fish, pilau rice.

There is a small choice of old-school dishes (Tandoori Chicken anyone?) if you really must, but fish has to be the way to go. Kappa with Fish Curry (fish mixed with cassava and served with a spicy sauce, £9.99) is a heavy, tasty dish and is recommended along with the Green Mango Fish Curry (£7.25). Both dishes use fresh coconut and have a good kick. Plain pilau rice (£2.50) or a Keralan Paratha (£2.50) are the best accompaniments, and coconut rice (£3.50) an overload of the fairground favourite.

Elsewhere, vegetable lovers will rejoice at the array of choices with dishes of beetroot, okra, eggplant, beans spinach, paneer and eggs all on the menu (from £4.50 as side dishes). But most importantly, Pathiri has a chef who takes his vegetables seriously (the Cabbage Thoran, £4.50, was probably the best cabbage dish I have ever had) and not as an afterthought to sit sadly next to the meat dishes.

Pathiri operates a BYO policy and on Saturday and Sunday lunchtimes you can try a range of dishes with their South Indian Thalis (£8.99 veg, £9.99 non-veg).

Pathiri, 119 Trafalgar Road, Greenwich, London, SE10 9TX. Tel: 020 8858 1220. E-mail:

Scores on the tandoors
Food 7.5
Decor 5
Service and friendliness 8
Atmosphere 6 (Wednesday evening)

Value 8

Chop chop

1. Reviews (London)

Lahore, E1

“I pretty much just end up eating plates of chops when I go to Lahore,” I tell my friend, who is heading to this iconic restaurant for the first time.

“What? No curry?” he asks, as if a night without the spicy tomato and onion sauce at least somewhere on the table, would be plain wrong.

A short while later he looks up from a mound of red meat, his hands covered in tasty juices from the plate, and exclaims: “I can see why you eat chops here!”

We’ve ordered two plates of their chops (£9.95 for five) and are tucking in. Lahore really do make the chops in most other places seem like mini offcuts. This large Pakistani restaurant is often referred to as an institution, so engrained is it in the way of life in Whitechapel. There are other restaurants in the same area called Lahore One and Lahore Two, although neither, as far as I am told, are run by the same owners. Lahore is the daddy and chops is the dish of choice. Plate after plate of these mouth-watering chunks of marinated meat head out of the open kitchen, where you can watch flashes of flame bursting from dishes as they are cooked. The spice marinade is rich and the balance between slightly charred edges and the tasty fattiness of the lamb is perfect. A huge plate of fresh salad, which is routinely placed on every table as guests arrive is the ideal mouth cleanser from the grease when fingers are licked clean.


You can’t book in this canteen-style restaurant and it’s not uncommon to see a queue snaking out into the road. But once in you’ll join the hustle and bustle of a truly working restaurant, with a stream of waiters seamlessly delivery those fresh salads, jugs of water water, glasses for your drinks (it’s a BYO) taking orders and delivering dishes. And all this amid a throng of happy diners. This not a place where people whisper quietly, it’s where they fully embrace the food with gusto. It’s where there was restaurant theatre long before some PR person thought they’d attach the tag to the restaurant of some TV chef’s venue.

One curry club I know refuse to eat anywhere else; every month they meet here and tuck in. To chops no doubt.

But there is way more if you can force yourself from the lamb. Each day there is a special, said to recreate favourites from the streets of Lahore (how about Chicken Haleem, £10, on the weekend?). The Onion Bhaji (£3.50) is so fresh from the oil you’d be advised to wait a while before picking the pieces up unless you have asbestos fingers. And the Chicken Kebab Roll (£3.50) is a nice tandoori break from the lamb.

But if you still yearn for a “curry” they are all there waiting: Karai Gosht (£9.50), Chana Masala (£7), Chicken Biryani (£9.75), even Fish Curry (£9.50). But I must admit, with the meat coursing through my veins after the chops, I usually just overload with a Keema Curry (£9,50) and accept that this was a meat day without any doubt

Lahore, 2 Umberston Street, London E1 1PY. Tel: 020 7481 9737. Open: daily 11.30am – 1am.

Scores on the tandoors
Food 9
Decor 5
Service and friendliness 7.5
Vibe 10 (Tuesday evening)

Value 9

Village spice

1. Reviews (London)

Kasturi, SE7

When you read from a food writer (Solange Berchim in the Greenwich Visitor) that the curry she ordered from Kasturi in Charlton was one of the best she had tasted, it is time to take notice.

The Greenwich Curry Club had a mammoth Christmas curry here when it was called the Viceroy, so we clearly needed to check out the venue’s new incarnation. After a couple of warm-up drinks in the friendly White Swan we skipped the starters and headed straight for the mains.

I’m currently on a Vindaloo rush and the chicken one (£6.95) was spot on – well spiced and a decent amount of vinegar. It’s amazing how many restaurants ease up on that ingredient when it’s a core part of the Goan dish.

Elsewhere on the table, the Lal Maas (£9.95 ), a Rajasthani lamb dish, didn’t explode in heat as we expected from the menu’s description, but it disappeared nonetheless, along with a Hyderabadi Lamb Biryani and Mashq-e-Tanjan, the chicken version of the same dish (both £9.95). Considering there were the remnants of a Keema nan (£2.95) and pilau rice (£2.95), an empty bottle of red wine and a few Cobras littering the table, the final tally of under £20 a head was exceptional for this quality.

I particularly like the tight menu, in particular only listing a handful of “speciality” dishes. Now, that is a restaurant that is confident in itself and one where you can be more confident that the chef actually does specialise in those dishes.

Kasturi, 10 The Vilage, Charlton, London, SE7 8UD. Tel: 020 8319 3439. E-mail: Open: daily 5.30pm – 11pm.

Scores on the tandoors
Food 8
Decor 7.5
Service and friendliness 8.5
Vibe (early Wednesday night) 7
Value 8

Plenty of fish

1. Reviews (London)

Saffron Club, SE3

Not only does this Blackheath restaurant have one of the coolest names in the curry world, it also has a superb selection of seafood dishes. Sparking my interest was the Punjabi Fish and Chips (£8.95), a twist on the British classic, with Ajwain seeds used with the gram flour for the batter and served with a yoghurt dip. There’s even peas. Spicy I wonder? The waiter did admit that the dish was pretty much standard fish and chips with a hint of spice but then that’s not such a bad thing in my book anyway.

Other tempting fishy delights on the menu are the Mixed Seafood Curry (£13.95) with tiger prawns, salmon, fish and mussels in a Goan sauce and Bulsari Salmon (£11.95), a brochette of fresh salmon with onions and peppers. There are also four different prawn dishes (from £12.95) and Tandoori Trout Fish (£10.95) served with a stir fried aubergine and tomatoes.

To say there’s a fair bit of competition in the restaurant stakes in Blackheath is an understatement but Saffron Club has certainly put its marker down when it comes to fish.

But as this is a Nepalese restaurant specialities such as Chicken or Lamb Hariyali (£8.95) and Himalayan Chicken (£8.95) are also to be recommended. The latter is cooked with Jimbu, a popular spice from the hill regions of Nepal apparently. Not your usual ingredient that’s for sure. And, as can be seen from the photo below, there are some excellent, fresh vegetable side dishes too.


Saffron Club, 39 Tranquil Vale, Blackheath, London, SE3 0BU. Tel: 020 8297 1071.

Scores on the tandoors
Food 7.5
Decor 8
Service and friendliness 9
Atmosphere 6 (Tuesday evening)

Value 7.5

Popadom and pickles

1. Reviews (London)

Crayford Tandoori, Crayford, Kent

I used this Indian restaurant a lot a few years ago, so I was delighted to see it going strong on a recent visit.

This is a classic small-town curry place: it serves more or less all the old-school dishes in its attempt to satisfy everyone: from young couples getting ready for a night out to oldies making their visit a night out, to groups celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and all those people in-between (like our jolly table down from London for the night).

And a classic place deserves some classic ordering. So where to start? Ah, the joys of an Indian. No faffing around like in other places; it’s not what to order, it’s simply how many to order.

“That’ll be six popadoms please.” See mum, I can order with no hands (on the menu) now.

Then it’s the pickle tray ritual as people make a grab for their favourites.

“Oh, that’s hot! Try that one.”

“Oh I love that one.”

“Is that the mango? Mmmm.”

“What’s that one? I don’t think I’ve had that one before.”

“Yes you bloody have,” I want to cry. “This is a classic curry house. They’ve been dishing up the same stuff for years when it comes to this bit of the meal.”

In case you haven’t been out since 1978 it goes like this…

  1. The popadoms arrive 18 seconds after they have been ordered. Some people in your group are still removing their coats and before long another member of the group will return from the loo and exclaim: “oh you’ve ordered popadoms,” as if it is unusual.
  2. The amount of popadoms you get will be the highest number that a member of you party asked for. So if everyone asked for six but one person said ten then the waiter will have only have heard him and you will get ten. Nobody argues because it’s not the done thing.
  3. The popadoms will be moderately warm as they were cooked earlier and have been sitting under a warmer tray. Nobody argues because it’s not the done thing.
  4. The pickle tray will include, a) some chopped onion with mint and a bit of vinegar. b) mango pickle. c) lime pickle. d) yoghurt/mint sauce. There is never a variation of the pickle tray in a classic curry house, although occasionally the  yoghurt/mint sauce can be bright green thanks to colouring, which is rather exciting, even though it tastes no different.
  5. Everyone tucks in. There are two ways to eat popadoms and pickles. One is to break off small bits of popadom and put on the pickles one at a time so you can actually taste them. The second is to pile a mixture of all the pickles on your plate and mix them up into a complete mess in a complete disregard for the individual taste of each one. You can then scoop up the mess on to your popadom and wonder why it is dripping all over the place.
  6. After five minutes someone at the table asks for another tray of pickles because they have already been devoured. This is the equivalent of a large bottle of ketchup and mustard being used on a couple of hotdogs but no worry, the waiter will assist us.
  7. The waiter mutters something in Hindi to his colleague. This can roughly translated as “that greedy bunch have eaten a whole pickle tray in five minutes. Thank goodness we charge £1.10 per popadom these days.”
  8. After another five minutes the waiter returns to collect the empty tray but as he touches it someone exclaims, “we haven’t finished yet,” before picking up the last miniscule shards of popadoms and popping them into his mouth.
  9. The waiter says something else in Hindi.

And so begins a classic meal in a classic Indian restaurant, which on this occasion served up an excellent Chicken Tikka Sag (£8.95), Keema Bhuna (£7.95) and Sag Aloo (£3.20), as well as the largest King Prawn Butterfly starter (£5.95) I have ever seen.


Sag Aloo (left) and Chicken Tikka Sag.

Crayford Tandoori, 4 Empire Building Waterside, Crayford, Kent, DA1 4JJ. Tel: 01322 529 907. Open: Sunday to Thursday 5.30pm – 11pm, Friday to Saturday 5.30pm – midnight.

Scores on the tandoors
Food 7
Decor 6
Service and friendliness 7.5
Vibe (Saturday night) 8
Value 8

If it ain’t broken

1. Reviews (London)

Spice of India, London SE1

A rambling, long menu is often worrying. How can a chef know, and cook, all these dishes properly methinks.

But somehow it seems perfect for the Spice of India. This is a proper curry house. Packed with an adoring after-work crowd all tucking into popadoms and dips and loving the array of old-school dishes on offer, the place is buzzing midweek.

This Waterloo favourite has stayed true to what most of us fell in love with when it came to Indian food – good, tasty food with no nonsense. It may not have that stark (cool, you know) Scandinavian-inspired interior design and astonishing unheard of dishes we can boast about at work the next day as if we are great culinary sub Continent explorers, but it does serve decent curry at decent prices.

The Spice of India might not be new and shiny but it certainly doesn’t feel dated; it’s just happy in its own curry-house skin. And I’m happy it’s there. Chicken Rogan (£8.25), Prawn Bhuna (£8.75), Pilau rice (£3.25) and a nan bread (£2.95) hasn’t tasted so good in a while.

Spice of India, 65 The Cut, South Bank, London, SE1 8LL. Tel: 0207 1286 or 0207 928 5280. Open: daily noon–2.30pm and 5.30pm–11.30pm.

Scores on the tandoors
Food 7.5
Decor 6
Service and friendliness 7.5
Vibe (early Wednesday night) 9
Value 8

Starters orders

1. Reviews (London)

Bhaji, London E14 (Takeaway)

Established in 1997, this friendly Isle of Dogs takeaway serves up decent takeaway food from a great menu. Bhaji‘s Chicken Benjal (£4.95) caught my eye straight away. Jalfrezi lovers would enjoy this dish of tomatoes, green peppers, onions and chillies, although a bit more oomph in the heat level would have been welcomed.

The Mushroom rice (£2.25) was generous with its spices and mushrooms, but best of all was very tasty. The Uri Bhaji (£2.65) was slightly soft by the time we’d got it home, but with light spicing and chopped onions, these green beans make an interesting alternative to the usual veg side dishes. All veg dishes can be bumped up to main portions for a pound extra.

Elsewhere there are some very decent offerings on the menu. It’s not difficult to see why this place has been around for 18 years. There is a healthy options sections (such as Salmon Shashlik for £8.95), some Salads and Dips from £2.50, and, unusually for a takeaway, a decent selection of desserts.

There are also some set meals – and not the usual line up most places offer. For instance, the Staff’s Favourite for One includes Dallier Bora, Naga Chicken, Tarka Dal, Rice, Roti, Rice and Mint Sauce (£10.95).

Then there are Indian Style Noodles (from £4.95), a range of Sag Baltis and Naga Baltis (from £5.95) and Shatkora Doner Kebabs (the mind boggles) as well as the usual curry favourites from £4.45.

There will be return visits. I might even have a lassi (yes, they do these as well).


Takeaway essentials
on-street parking.
Delivery: free within three miles for minimum orders over £10.
Specials: 10% discount on orders over £12 collected. Free bottle of Coke or side dish with orders over £18.
Beer while you’re waiting: The Ship pub is just over the road.

Bhaji, 6 Chapel House Street, London, E14 3AS. Tel: 020 7531 6166/7. Open: Mon–Sat 5.30pm–11.30pm.

Scores on the tandoors

Food 7

Waiting area  8.5

Value 7

Service and friendliness 9

Kofta smofta

1. Reviews (London)

Clifton, London, E14

It’s a famous name but sadly this attractive looking restaurant just outside Canary Wharf rarely seems to have more than a handful of people in it. The times when it does have customers it’s rammed to the brim for parties and this appears to be how it thrives.

The original Clifton Café opened in the 1950s in Brick Lane and became famous for continuing to serve authentic curries as others around it pandered to the tastes of Western palates. Its current incarnation opened nearby in 2005. The E14 branch is large, and together with its sister shop next door, which sells everything a curry lover wants, creates a significant Clifton footprint in the Westferry Road.

The two restaurants continue to fly the flag of authenticity so it seemed the decent thing to order one of the regional specialities of Bangladesh. The Tetul Tanga Bujon (£7.95) promised koftas in a sweet and sour sauce and I went for the chicken version on the waiter’s recommendation. It was the most sweet sour sauce I have ever had in an Indian restaurant that’s for sure and pretty tasty. But where were the koftas? The chicken was nice enough but they were chunks not meatballs.

“That’s the way we do that dish,” I was told with a smile. “But it’s cooked in kofta sauce.” Kofta sauce? Authentic I hope.

The starters were served on round thali trays, which was a nice touch. The Cauliflower Pakora (£2.25) came with salad and sauces, as did the Lamb Chops (£4.95). Oh, the Lamb Chops. Huge, beautifully spiced and tender lamb, with edges slightly charred in the tandoor.

Clifton, 32 Westferry Road, London E14 8LW. Tel: 020 7987 0600 or 020 7001 2999. E-mail:

Scores on the tandoors

Food 6.5

Decor 8

Service and friendliness 8.5

Atmosphere 6 (Monday evening)

Value 7

Manjal, London E14


This classy Isle of Dogs gem has always impressed me with its freshness (see Fast but certainly fresh) – now it boasts a fresh menu as well as fresh food. And what a menu it is.

Dishes are split into sections on the new line-up: as well as dosas, rice and breads, there are veg starters, autograph veg starters, non-veg starters, autograph non-veg starters, with the same format  used for mains. I almost felt sorry for the lovely sounding dishes that failed to be elevated to the autograph status! But there was no need. The Potato Tikka Chat (£5.95) was one such dish and it was delicious. The potato patties were lightly fried and topped with channa dal and carrying an unexpected kick with its spicing.

This was just one of the dishes that will interest vegetarians. Broccoli Varulal (£5.95), delivers the trademark freshness, as I know from previous visits, while the great named Gobi ’65 (£5.95) – an Indo-Chinese offering of deep-fried cauliflower florets – is certain to get a testing in the future. It’s also nice to see dal dishes treated with deserved respect by the menu creator as too often diners see it just as something to moisten up their rice, if they eat it at all. Here there is a choice of Dal Tadka (£5.95), the wonderfully creamy Dal Makhani (£6.95), a popular dal-lovers dish that is cooked with different types of lentils, and Dal Manjal (£6.95), a coconut curry from South India.

But this dockside venue, which had a smart after-work business buzz to it on this visit, has superb choices for those of us who enjoy non-veg dishes as well.

The Mutton Kothu Roti (£9.95) has to be tried. This dry dish of Sri Lankan origin is a mix of meat (there are also chicken and veg versions), onions, leeks, spices and pieces of shredded bread – think of it as a sort of bread biryani. It’s really unusual – each mouthful delivers a spicy mix with tasty chunks of mutton and the odd chewy piece of roti thrown in for good measure. It’s always extremely filling – I could only manage one tier of this nicely presented two-tiered dish. It comes with a side of spicy sauce.

The kottu was, of course, one of the autograph non-veg curries. And it had some serious competition when it came to me choosing my main because others on the menu were the Chettinad Manjal Special Chicken Curry (£8.95), the Manjal Special Fish Curry (£10.95) and the got-to-be-tried-next-visit Manjal Special Lamb Curry (£9.95). Another creation from South India, this is a dish where lamb, liver and bones are all cooked together in a thick masala sauce.

I’m always on the look out for new dishes to try and this menu certainly offers scope for plenty of return visits for that. Having tried the Devil Chicken starter (£9.95), another of the Indo-Chinese offerings with a wow spice kick, as well the dishes mentioned above, I know they are more than worth a try.

Manjal, 3 Turnberry Quay, Pepper Street, London, E14 9RD. Tel: 020 7538 1140. E-mail: Open: daily, noon–11pm.

Scores on the tandoors

Food 9

Decor 9

Atmosphere 8 (Thursday night)

Service and friendliness 9

Value 9

* The Greenwich Curry Club was hosted by Manjal restaurant.

Manjal on Urbanspoon

1. Reviews (London)

Curry base-ics

1. Reviews (London)

The Greenwich Curry Club always like to check out new curry venues so we were delighted to be the very first customer at Balti Base, the name chosen by the new owners of the takeaway at 106 Blackheath Road. Previously Curry to Go, and before that Medina, they have some tough competition with Le Popadom, Indelicious, Green Chillies and Chutney all close.

But the young owners have a spark that makes me believe they could thrive. A smiley, friendly service (I was number one customer after all…) goes a long way, but you’re going to love the prices even more. Old-school curries like Bhuna, Rogan and so on come in at £3.75 for chicken and 50p more for lamb, while you can sample specials like Chicken Honey Khany (nuts and sultana in a sweet yoghurt sauce) for £5.25 or the King Prawn Special with mushrooms for £6.25.

Parking: on the side streets off Blackheath Road.

Delivery: free on orders over £12 although the menu doesn’t specify which areas this covers.

Specials: free Bombay Potato on orders over £15 that are collected.

Beer while you’re waiting: the Graduate is over the road.

Balti Base, 106 Blackheath Road, London, SE10 8DA. Tel: 020 8692 2423. Open: daily 5.30pm–11pm.


The scores on the tandoors

Food 7

Waiting area 6

Value 8

Loving the view

1. Reviews (London)

Mountain View, Greenwich, London

Fifteen of the Greenwich Curry Club descended on the newish Mountain View restaurant with recommendations from numerous people still ringing in our ears. The Nepalese recently replaced the Mehak along Trafalgar Road and although its predecessor was pretty decent the Mountain View has raised the bar.

We arrived on what we thought was banquet night only to be told that offer no longer was being run. The Curry Club’s chief grumbler suspected it was because we had turned up en mass but frankly I suspect the offer has been withdrawn because their reputation has grown so quickly they simply don’t need it to attract customers. On the night we visited (Wednesday) the restaurant was packed with a great buzz about the place.

A challenger for the world's greatest samosas

A challenger for the world’s greatest samosas

The food was top-notch and the table heaving with different dishes. Lets start, as so many meals do, with the popadoms. In all my years of visiting and reviewing Indian food the normal process has been for people to break off a bit of the giant crisp, load it up with pickles and fill up their mouths to stave off the hunger pangs before the starters arrived. This is the first time I have ever heard anyone, let alone more than one person comment that they taste so good. I’m not a big fan of popadoms myself and thought they were just a way for the restaurant to add a few sneaky pounds to the bill. After all, who says no to them?

Then came the Lamb and Vegetable Samosas (both £2.45 for two). Well, in actual fact, then came an array of starters but it was the humble samosa that took centre stage. Super plump and well-filled, the samosas are crisp to the bite and the pastry not too thick – the perfect combination.

Well, if a restaurant can get plaudits for its popadoms and samosas then the curries are likely to be a walk in the park. I can’t personally confirm this is the case for one classic dish because our newest (Canadian) member, unversed in the sharing ways of the Curry Club, swiftly tipped his Chicken Tikka Masala onto his plate before you could say, “Where’s the rice?”. But from his clean plate at the end I think we can assume they were as good as other classics such as Lamb Vindaloo (£6.25), Chicken Madras (£5.95), Lamb Dhansak (£6.95), Lamb Biryani (£8.95) and the Lamb and Chicken Jalfrezis (both £6.95), which it should be mentioned were a touch hotter than you’d find in other restaurants but carrying a lovely blend of spice and heat.

photo 3 copy

Three happy Curry Club members discuss the merits of Cobra beer

Meanwhile  the Malabar Fish Curry (£8.95) has made me completely revise my view of the Bangladeshi freshwater fish tilapia. Normally dry, this was tender and smothered in a delicious coconut-based sauce. And finally, for fresh veg lovers the Diwani Handi (£5.95) will hit the mark; crunchy asparagus, baby corn and green beans in dark, dry sauce.

Mountain View, 160 Trafalgar Road, Greenwich, London, SE10 9TZ. Tel: 020 8858 0227 0r 020 8293 4752. Open: Mon–Thurs 5pm–11.30pm, Fri 5pm–midnight, Sat noon–2.30pm, 5pm–midnight, Sun noon–11.30pm.


The scores on the tandoors

Food 9

Decor 7

Service and friendliness 9

Atmosphere (Wednesday night) 9

Value 9

Fast but certainly fresh

1. Reviews (London)

Manjal, London, E14

Most food reviews have an angle, something to ‘hang’ the piece on. It’s something that stands out, good or bad, a little something to make the piece. Manjal offered so many angles I don’t know where to start, so I’ll list them all… It’s a new Indian restaurant (and a good one); the menu is different and exciting (although bizarrely the two I saw were not identical); the decor is contemporary and bright (and some of the tables enjoy views across the water of Millwall Docks and the twinkling lights of canary Wharf); the service is friendly (although a bit scatty); and the food is tasty and fresh (although it was delivered a bit too fast for my liking).

So let’s dive straight into the last point. There’s an ideal time for food to be served. Somewhat unfairly on restaurants this varies from person to person but the basic rules generally apply: there should be a ‘suitable’ time from taking the order to delivering the starters so diners can enjoy a drink and a chat, then there should be a ‘suitable’ time from clearing the starters to bringing the mains so diners can have another drink, but also so they feel the food is cooked freshly and not pre-prepared (let’s ignore the fact that few places can cook every order from scratch without some sort of prep, but that’s besides the point for diners).

In this country restaurants can safely err on the side of quicker service rather than slower because we don’t linger around a dinner table like, say, many Southern Europeans. But then they don’t like curry as much as us so what do they know anyway.

But no-one likes to get food delivered so quickly he feels like he has suddenly become part of a restaurant race. So when the starters arrive before the ordered popadoms have even reached the table and the mains appear before the beer has barely washed down the last mouthful of starter, then most of us will start dreaming of those lazy Southern European dinners.

But the food was undoubtedly fresh. The Mili Juli Subzi (£4.95) has perfectly cooked vegetables that really did remind me of those picked from my grandfather’s garden. And, joy, upon joy, the meat in the Chicken Karahi (£7.95) was running with tasty juices. Not a dry lump in the house. The starters – just two of a very interesting lineup – were also excellent. Kanaval Pirattal (£4.95) is squid, South Indian style, and the thick, dark sauce will please even the most ardent chilli head. Hot indeed. Even the Broccoli Varuval (£3.95), simple enough, but also very fresh, had a kick.

pic2  pic3   •Kanaval Pirattal (spicy squid)                 •Broccoli Varuval

Manjal, 3 Turnberry Quay, Pepper Street, London, E14 9RD. Tel: 020 7538 1140. E-mail: Open: daily, noon–11pm.

Scores on the tandoors

Food 7⃣

Decor 8⃣

Atmosphere (Thursday night) 8⃣

Service and friendliness 7⃣

Value 8⃣

Manjal on Urbanspoon