Normal lagers please

3. Reviews (International)

Surya, New York, USA
(Review by the New York Curry Club)

Truly an All Saints Day for the books! If the Appleton sisters were alive today, they would surely be nodding their heads with pride at our wondrous celebration. After Malt House witnessed one of our more aggressive pre-games, Surya was definitely ill-prepared for its esteemed guests. Our waiter Leo (@pereiraleo308), blessed with chutzpah as large as his mullet, unwisely tried to force us into the Bira 91 promotional beer (disgusting). After berating him for a while, normal lagers magically appeared.

The food was remarkably good for an establishment offering a $12 lunch menu. A very tender mixed grill was followed by some perfectly acceptable curries, albeit lacking in spice for a more experienced palate.

As beer levels depleted (an all too common occurrence on the NYC Indian restaurant scene), excitement levels escalated. The banter was flowing, glasses were smashed, and an invasion of Oreo-selling rapscallions delivered a fitting end to a fine meal.

The Garrett was kind enough to host us post-dinner, and a selection of brave CC-ers found themselves at the Jane in the early hours. Better decisions have been made.

Surya score = 6 curry leaves

Food – 1.5/2 (Surprised on the upside)

Beers – 0.5/2 (The initial cheek to force us into their sponsors’ offering, and then a complete underestimation of the necessary volume for a CC sitting. Leo picks up half a point for going on a shopping mission for some extras.)

Décor/Ambience – 1.5/2 (Pleasant graffiti backdrop, and some seasoned curry veterans dotted throughout the restaurant)

Popadoms – 1.5/2 (Reasonable structure and prompt service. As ever in NYC, the accoutrements were very lacking in quality)

Je ne sais quoi – 1/2 (For some reason, I will probably consider a return visit).

Surya, 154 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10012, USA. Tel: 212 875 1405.

Open: Monday to Thursday noon – 3pm and 5pm – 10:30pm, Friday noon – 3pm and 5pm – 11pm, Saturday to Sunday noon – 11pm.

Old Monk, New York

3. Reviews (International)

The Old Monk, New York, USA
(Review by the New York Curry Club)

A surprisingly quiet Mozambique Day of Peace and Reconciliation. We even managed to secure a large table for aperitifs on what is typically the most rambunctious celebration of the year.

Wheels suitably greased and blessed with a sprinkle of new faces, we ventured to Babu Ji’s old stomping ground. Now under new ownership, Old Monk aims for the same ‘contemporary Indian soul food’ vibe as its predecessor, but underwhelms. Using the Club’s traditional goalkeeper analogy, the tasting menu was a Petr Cech – solid, bland and probably used to be rated quite highly. You wouldn’t necessarily complain if the chairman secured him on a free in the January transfer window, but you’re not going to be thrilled when the ball’s at his feet.

For the price paid, you’d expect something a little sexier, a Jordan Pickford perhaps, offering an additional element of excitement to the build-up play and a more obvious passion for the game (curry). Indeed, many diners were unable to tell the difference between the chicken and salmon dishes and the only notable shift in flavours came with the dessert course. Nevertheless, the staff were welcoming, enthusiastic and nice enough that we will not curse them with a sub-5 leaves review.

Post-dinner drinks were somewhat scuppered by the heavy digestive requirements of the aforementioned cuisine.

Old Monk Score = 6 curry leaves

Food – 1/2 (disappointing for what was supposedly a ‘tasting menu’)

Beers – 2/2 (solid choice and service)

Décor/Ambience – 1/2 (lovely pachmina awnings, but could do with other diners for atmosphere)

Popadoms – 1.5/2 (reasonable structure but waiters again failed to understand the importance of a prompt race)

Je ne sais quoi – 0.5/2 (a hint of je ne sais quoi, needs work)

The Old Monk, 175 Avenue B, (Corner of 11th Street), New York, NY 10009, USA.
Tel: 646 559-2922.

Open: Sunday – Thursday: 5:30pm – 10pm, Friday & Saturday: 5:30pm – 11pm. Brunch: 11:30pm – 3pm

Ricardo’s Fast Food (Beau Bassin, Mauritius)

3. Reviews (International)

Ricardo’s Fast Food, Beau Bassin, Mauritius


Ricardo’s Tandoori chef

Not much beats deeply marinated chicken that’s served up within seconds of leaving the tandoor oven. Especially if you’ve got a nan bread dripping in butter and it’s one in the morning.

Ricardo’s is hardly on the beaten track for tourists visiting Mauritius, but lucky for us we’ve got a couple of friends in the know. We’d been planning to visit the place for days so it’s fair to say I had Malai Tikka on the brain by time we’d arrived. The tandoor chef certainly knew his stuff and it was a delight to watch him work his magic as he slid an array of meats onto large skewers – Sheek Kebabs (Rs 125), Haryali Kebabs (Rs 100) and, of course, Malai Kebabs (Rs 100) – and then plunged them into the over furnace. The breads were next and it didn’t take long for one of the tastiest street food snacks to emerge.

The tandoor menu is short and to the point – kebabs, nans (Rs 25 to Rs 50) and nan rolls (Rs 150 to Rs 200). There are a few other things on the menu like chips and sausages but frankly why would you bother when there is a super skilled tandoor chef waiting for your order? Just find a perch in the bustle of this ramshackle takeaway joint and watch the locals come and go as they fill up with late-night snacks.

Ricardo’s, Beau Bassin, Mauritius. Tel: 5759 2043. Open: till late.

Scores on the tandoors
Food 9
Decor 2
Service and friendliness 9
Vibe 9 (late night Friday)
Value 10






Sitar (Dublin)

3. Reviews (International)

Sitar, Dublin

The Average White Band were one of my favourite groups in the ’70s and ’80s. They mixed it up musically with a bit of jazz, a bit of funk and a bit of soul. And they mixed it up racially when it came to the line-up of the band. And that mix all came together, like a perfect curry blends a mix of spices, in a track called Pick up the Pieces.

Sitar could do with picking up the pieces, because it certainly has some of the ingredients to be a cracking Indian restaurant – location in Temple Bar, decent food and reasonable prices – but it’s just, well, Average.

Let’s start with the positives. A Temple Bar location, the honey pot of Dublin, where tourists will accept anything at any price seemingly. Ok, Sitar’s not very Irish and there’s not a Guinness sign hanging outside, but it’s in Temple Bar for goodness sake, what can go wrong?

The food is ok (not all of it, but more of that later), the staff are very friendly and welcoming, as is the decor of the place, especially the cosy booth-like table at the window. And best of all there is no ‘live, local music’, which is a welcome relief to anyone who has been in the Irish capital for more than 48 hours.

But then came the popadoms, clearly from a packet – you know, the ones like crisps that are handy for dips when you fancy a snack at home. I’ve pretty much gone off popadoms, mostly because few restaurants cook them fresh anymore (I can only think it costs too much to keep the deep-fat fryer on) but packet popadoms in a restaurant? Well that’s a first. It didn’t matter too much because the amount of dips served up barely covered the bottom of those tiny pots. It’s lucky I’ve gone off pops really.

But I haven’t gone off Sheehk Kebabs and these were clearly cooked from frozen and not made fresh. The poor meat had been iced to death and had no texture, although the taste was just about hanging in there. It’s what you’d imagine astronauts would get if they opened a packet of Sheehk Kebabs as they whizzed around space.

You may wonder why I’m still sitting here at this point. Well, it’s my birthday, the Cobra is very cold and that booth I mentioned was great fun for people watching. It’s amazing what tourists will film if it looks remotely Irish.

Maybe it was at that moment they brought in a proper chef because the mains were rather good (pops, starter, main, plus rice or nan was €18.95 in the early bird special). The Chicken Madras, although cooked well below the spice level required was tasty and the chicken tender, while the Prawn Dhansak lovely and thick with its lentils and delivered with four or five proper-sized prawns. Well, well, the place can deliver, after all. Now just pick up the rest of the pieces guys…

Sitar, 16 Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Ireland. Tel: +353 (01) 670 6863.

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

Southern spice

3. Reviews (International)

Spice, Wexford, Ireland

Good. Indian. Restaurant. Wexford. These are not four words you’re likely to see in the same sentence too often. But here it is: Spice, a beautiful restaurant buzzing with diners enjoying excellent Indian dishes. Well, well, what a find this is.

Wexford, a small, pretty town with a population of just 20,000, sits on the east coast of Ireland, about 90 miles from Dublin. What would the Vikings, who founded the town in about 800AD make of this spicy food one wonders.

The decor in Spice is smart and classy with modern sharp lines and thoughtful lighting creating a relaxed and atmosphere. It belies the exterior, which doesn’t promise much.

The chefs are from South India (Kerala) and the menu reveals their regional influences. There is a section of traditional South Indian curries (Lamb €12.50, Vegetable €9.50), a Fish Curry from Goa, the neighbouring region to Kerala (€12.95), and interestingly Kolhapuri, a delicious dish you’d struggle to find on the menus of many restaurants in London, let alone Dublin. Kolhapuri originates from the town of Kolhapur, in Maharashtra to the north of Goa.

Following a generous portion of a delicious squid starter (€9), it was time for a Lamb Madras (€12.50). Madras is, of course, the colonial name for the town of Chennai in south India, but although this is a well-known and popular dish it certainly doesn’t originate from that part of India. In fact, Madras was a name coined in the restaurants of the UK for a curry of a certain heat level (think Curry to Madras to Vindaloo to Phaal). Nevertheless it is a delicious dish and cooked excellently in Spice.

Fresh cream was used to achieve a nice, thick consistency (other restaurants use yoghurt or coconut cream for the same effect) and there was not a trace of oiliness. Those curry lovers who don’t like that film of oil on the top of their dishes will be pleased to know the only thing floating on the top was black mustard seeds.

Finally, worth a mention, is the clever way the menu provides info for people with allergies. Every dish contains a few letters next to it and there is a key at the back (PN = peanuts, S = soya, G = gluten, etc). It’s clever, helpful, and unobtrusive.

* The exchange rate at the time of the visit was £1 = €1.15

Spice, Monck Street, Wexford, Ireland. Tel: +353 (0)53 912-2011. E-mail: Open: Sun–Thurs 5.30pm to 11pm, Fri–Sat 5pm to 11pm.

Scores on the Tandoors
Food 8.5
Decor 9
Service and friendliness 7
Vibe (Saturday night) 7.5
Value 7.5

Light up the BBQ

3. Reviews (International)

Dera, Dublin, Ireland

Lovers of the famed Lahore and Tayaabs restaurants in London should know there is a welcome bedfellow across the Irish Sea. The Dublin curry scene is generally not that good and over-priced but Dera is one that hits the mark.

Smarter and smaller than its London-Pakistan counterparts, Dera offers all the usual curries (Dhansak, Jalfrazi, Balti etc) and a good vegetarian selection (Shahi Paneer, Channa Masala, Mushroom Bhunna etc) but as when visiting its more famous friends there is only one way to go – the BBQ meats.

For anyone who has had a lamb chop or Sheehk Kebab (probably as a starter) in another restaurant, please wipe your memory. Most are just pale imitations of the Pakistani-run restaurants.

The Sheehk Kebabs (€9.99) are large and meaty, and are delicious with a bit of the creamy mint sauce smothered over them. The Lamb Chops (€9,99) are so beautifully marinated that they require little more than the odd mouthful of the crunchy salad and a tear of naan. And the Chicken Tikka (€9.99) will have you wondering exactly what it is that you’ve been eating up until now. All of these dishes are served with either pilau rice, naan or chips so are meals in themselves. Especially as the popadoms and pickles are complimentary.

img_7118    img_7119

Lamb Chops and Chicken Tikka. Skip the curry with the usual sauce and get stuck in.

Frankly, you should look no further, at least on the first couple of visits. However, if you are one of those people who insists that “a night out for curry” is not a curry without that tomato/onion sauce over your food then there are are starter portions of these same dishes before you tuck into the old-school favourites. Better, would be to get a group of friends together, order a couple of the meaty platters to share and add in one or two curries or side dishes. I usually go for vegetable options like Paneer Karahi (€9.99) or Bindi Bhaji (€7.99) when I go down this route, to ensure there is plenty of room for the meat. If you are really in the communal spirit there is a raised area in Dera by the entrance where you can eat cross-legged or lounge against cushions while you swap dishes.

The restaurant does not serve alcohol but the Sweet or Salt Lassi (€2) or Afghani Green Tea (€2) makes a nice change until your drift back into the Dublin air and its 1001 pubs.

Dera, 138 Parnell Street, Dublin 1, Ireland. Tel: +353 (0)1 5388-800 or (0)1 5388-900. Open: daily 1pm till late.

Scores on the Tandoors
Food 9
Service and friendliness 7
Decor 8
Vibe 6 (Tuesday night)
Value 9

Spice panorama

3. Reviews (International)

 The Vista, Nairobi, Kenya

There are great views of the Kenyan capital from this seventh floor restaurant in the vibey area of Westlands. Large glass panels offer diners about 180 degree span of the city as they enjoy their curry.

As the Vista serves as the Hotel Emerald’s restaurant and bar there are different cuisines on the menu, but strictly speaking this is a curry restaurant and it welcomes a lot of locals and visitors who aren’t staying at the hotel.

Considering the chefs do have to cater for different tastes there is decent line up in the Indian section, with no less than 20 starters and 34 main dishes, not to mention naans and rice. Vegetarians are particularly well catered for, with a host of tasty sounding dishes, including the lively looking Dynamite Paneer Pops (Ksh600).

If in doubt keep it simple, so I opted for a Chicken Malai Kebab (Ksh800), a butter naan (Ksh100) and pickles. The chicken was tender and as the juice oozed out of delicately charing you you could taste the tandoor at work, while the coriander and crunchy salad provided the perfect fresh complement. Wrapped up in soft naan and topped off with some spicy pickle it makes for a great lunch.


Chicken Malai Kebab with butter naan.

The Vista (at the Hotel Emerald), 7th Floor, Krishna Centre, Woodvale Grove, Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya. Tel: +254 (0)716 228 302. Open: daily noon–3pm and 6pm–10.30pm.

The exchange rate at the time of the visit was £1 = Ksh153, $1 = Ksh100.

The scores on the tandoors

Food 8

Decor 6

Vibe 3 (Saturday lunchtime)

Service and friendliness 8

Value 9

Rub a zub zub

3. Reviews (International)

Zub Express, Flic en Flac, Mauritus (Takeaway)

Granted, poor old Zub Express had a tough ask when I ordered the Chicken Kolapuri (Rps190) because the best curry I have ever had was when I ordered the same dish in India. But while this kolapuri wasn’t quite up to those dizzy heights, the chef gave it a great go. There was that tasty, creamy, yet spicy sauce, with large chunks of well-marinated chicken and slices of onion that had been added late (ala many Chinese dishes) to provide a nice crunch. The restaurant advertises itself as a fusion of Indian and Chinese so maybe this was their fusion.

Although there are many Chinese dishes on the menu this place exudes ‘curry house’. Nicely decorated inside, it sits alone, away from the buzz of the other bars and restaurants in this resort, but en route to the main tourist hotels. Many diners choose to sit outside at one of the tables and look out across the beach, a naan’s throw away.

The kolapuri was served with some of the best, and freshest rotis (Rps30 each) I have ever had – fluffy yet firm, and perfect to scoop up this tasty dish. It’s a no brainer that I will soon be eating, not throwing, the naans (from Rps35) and trying the Aloo Ka Pharata (Rps40) soon.

As well as a good selection of the classic curry dishes, and, of course, this being Mauritius, a range of briyanis, there are also special seafood dishes to tempt, including King Prawn and Coconut (Rps750) and a Lobster Butter Massala (Rps950), which I’d imagine get more than a few tourist takers.

Strangely there is an extra charge for takeaways (Rps10.50 for each item). When I first commented that this was unusual, I was met with the service classic, “I don’t know why, I just work here.” I’m told by another takeaway regular to Zub that it’s to pay for the takeaway pots. Look after the pots and the pounds will look after themselves my old grandad used to say.

Parking: car park by the beach opposite.

Specials (or should that be non-specials): each takeaway item is charged Rps10.50 extra, so it’s cheaper to eat in than take food away.

Beer while you’re waiting: no alcohol is served at the restaurant and there are no bars nearby. Your only option would be a bottle while sitting on the fence by the beach.

Zub Express, 286 Coastal Road, Flic en Flac, Mauritius. Tel: +230 453 8867/68. Hotline: 5777 6655 or 5757 9355 or 5860. E-mail: Web: Open: Friday–Wednesday 10am–9.30pm, Thursday 5pm–10pm.

The exchange rate at the time of visit was £1 = Rps50 and $1 = Rps35.

The scores on the tandoors

Food 7.5

Waiting area 6 (no dedicated area so you must stand at the service bar or grab one of the outside tables if there is one free).

Service and friendliness 8

Value 8

Would you Adam and Eve it

3. Reviews (International)

Adam’s Curries, Baku, Azerbaijan
(Review by Neil Beard, Greenwich resident and International Curry Correspondent).

Adam curries pic

After spending two long, hot and busy months in Azerbaijan and at the request of Curry Bard Dan, I finally managed to get around to visiting Adam’s Curries in Baku for the first time, just four days before I return to the Royal Borough, warm beer and the rain.

My three dining colleagues for the evening were, along with myself, working on the 1st European Games. However, I imagine that their roles in catering services would, perhaps, make them slightly more critical of any dining out experience, especially as one of them is the former head chef at Asia Da Cuba St. Martins Lane, London. Adam’s was my recommendation so the pressure was on!

We hit Adam’s (which also doubles as a Thai on some nights) at eight, after beers at the Clansman pub. It was relatively busy and the aroma of spices was prominent on the street before we entered. Our reserved table was already occupied but the kind gentleman was politely asked to move to make way for four hungry men on a curry mission. Strategically placed next to the buffet, we couldn’t wait to get started.

The buffet was already pre-selected in everyone’s mind before we arrived but seeing the excellent choices, and our lack of a decent spicy meal for months, the decision was quickly re-affirmed. The Saturday evening buffet is 15 AZN per person (approx £8) with the local Xirdelan beer at 4 AZN (approx £2).

We tucked into delicious Chicken Tikka pieces, not just coloured chicken but really tender, and tasting like it had been baked in a traditional tandoor. Freshly cooked naan bread with mint raita, yogurt, and just for good measure a chili spice dip, were all available. Delicious.

There was no bhajis on offer but a selection of other starters including samosas and pakoras were available but as with all buffet food timing is everything. We quickly turned to the main event

The main courses included, among others, a Beef Madras, Chick Pea Curry and a Chicken Jalfrezi.

Each curry was individual, clearly all home made using fresh spices, which was a real surprise to us all and we commented on the authentic taste of each dish in turn. Fluffy basmati rice (a genuine art) complemented each mouthful, and quietness descended upon the table – always the best indication of a quality meal. Seconds, and even thirds, were consumed

I wish I had visited Adam’s before so I could have tried other dishes on the menu, in particular the Goan Fish Curry, which I’m sure would have been amazing as a specialty dish

Our hosts, curry meisters Narayan Pawar and his team, were incredibly friendly and polite. Adam’s is clearly a favourite among the ex-pats and oil-working community and long may it continue.

Adam’s Curries, 12 Tarlan Aliyarbeyov Street, Baku, Azerbaijan. Tel: +99455-348-1857. E-mail:


Fresh versus tinned

3. Reviews (International)

Spicy Village, Torreblanca, Spain
Ganga, Torreblanca, Spain

Just when I was about to decry that all Indian restaurants in Spain seem to churn out pretty poor, generic curries after eating at Spicy Village, along comes a saviour in the form of Ganga.

The two curry houses are both relatively new and are vying for business in the resort of Torreblanca along the Costa del Sol. But it’s pretty obvious which one will come out on top.

Spicy Village has a great location facing the sea and although it is housed in a pretty uninspiring brick-faced building, the covered outside area has been nicely decorated with large photos of spices and impressive buildings from the Sub-continent.

The food is a let down though. The Chicken Dopiaza (€7.50) was ok-ish, with a decent amount of onions giving the sauce a sweetish taste. But it just felt so generic, like a standard sauce that would go with almost anything. Now, as most of us know, restaurants use the same base sauce for most tomato based curries, but there was a feeling here that not a lot else had been added to the base to make the Dopiaza any different any of the other curries on the menus. The way the Garlic Nan (€2.50) had been made reinforced the disappointment – this was just a standard nan with a few chunks of garlic pressed into the top. Where was the great infusion of taste these breads usually deliver?

But it was the Vegetable Madras (€7.95) where things really fell apart. Here was a bowl of base sauce and can of tinned vegetables, with those perfectly chopped cubes of carrots and all. Not acceptable, especially when Spain boasts such tasty and cheap vegetables.

Spicy Village, Paseo Maritimo Torreblanca No 110, Edif Nautico Local, Fuengirola, Spain. Tel: +34 951 50 52 77 or +34 647 12 83 65. Open: daily 1pm–midnight.

Scores on the Tandoors

Food 5.5

Décor 6

Service and friendliness 6

Atmosphere (Saturday night) 8

Value 6


But there was complete turnaround on the visit to the spacious Ganga. The waiter looked almost bemused when asked if the chef used fresh vegetables. Of course, of course. The chef/owner, I was told, worked and even trained others in New Delhi’s famous Taj Hotel. He certainly knows how to cook, that’s for sure.

The fresh veg feast included a generous portion of Palak Paneer (€5.50) and a delicious Paneer Jalfrezi (€6.95), and although it might be a bit saucy for some Jalfrezi purists, it had plenty of fresh tomatoes, onions and peppers in a smooth base that verged on the creamy but delivered a nice kick. Made on site, the paneer is soft with a slight bite to it, but it has none of the rubberiness you can get from some pre-bought cheese. It’s among the best I’ve ever had anywhere in the world. And fresh was the order of the day with the Aloo Gobi (€5) with nice chunks of perfectly cooked potato (amazing how many places can get this wrong) and florets of cauliflower coated in a dryish sauce.

Paneer Jalfrezi (left) and Aloo Gobi, with a tomato and onion salad and a nan bread (Ganga)

Paneer Jalfrezi (left) and Aloo Gobi, with a Tomato and Onion Salad and a nan bread (Ganga)

And just to show it’s not only veg that is cooked so well, the Chicken Tikka Masala (€8) was spot on. You know the chef’s got this classic right when you end up scraping the dish at the end of the meal even though you are full to the brim already.

The table was finished off with a large serving of Pilau rice (€2.75), a Cheese, Onion and Chilli Nan (€3.50) and my new favourite accompaniment, an Onion and Tomato Salad (€2). I find the freshness of the salad cuts through the spiciness of the curries beautifully, acting like a mid-meal and setting me up for the next dish. And you’ll want plenty more dishes at Ganga, that’s for sure.

Ganga, Plaza de Torreblana, 7 (Av Torreblanca), Torreblanca 29640, Fuengirola, Spain. Tel: +34 952 661 749 or +34 652 240 902. Open: 6pm–midnight (later in season).

Scores on the Tandoors

Food 9

Décor 9

Service and friendliness 8.5

Atmosphere (early Sunday night) 6

Value 9

Tip of Africa, top curry

3. Reviews (International)

Bukhara, Cape Town, South Africa

Buk inside  Buk food

In a city where most of the spice influence comes from the Cape Malay community, it would be easy for a restaurant serving spicy food of the Indian variety to make little effort. After all, there is little competition for food of this type. Which makes the quality of Bukhara even the more remarkable.

Not only is it the best in Cape Town, one of the best in South Africa (along with its sister restaurants in Johannesburg et al) but many mention it up there with the best in the world. One friend, who has done his fair share of Indian food sampling around different countries declares Bukhara singularly as the best.

The sturdy dark tables and chairs, gilded with metallic edging add a manly opulence to the place and although a few more tables have been squeezed in since the early days in the 1990s there is a real feeling of sitting down to a meal of some importance. It’s how I imagine the Moguls would interpret their world if they were around today.

And the food certainly delivers on that feeling of importance. The Lemon Rice (R34) was a meal in itself with nuts, chillies, mustard seeds and curry leaves added. But that would to be to miss out on one of the delicious mains such as the Chicken Chettinad (R114). And although not on the menu some restaurant-made garlic pickle with dried chillies was on offer when I asked for a pickle dish as an extra taste to go with the meal. Delicious.

The menu includes classics such as Lamb Madras (R144) and Chicken Korma (R114) but for those looking to push the boat out (boom boom) The Crayfish Tak a Tak (R269) or the Fish Curry (R124) is the way to go in this great coastal city.

I’ve been eating in this restaurant since it opened in 1995 and it’s still one of the world greats.

 • Note: £1 = approx R15.50 at the time of the visit.

Bukhara, 33 Church Street, Cape Town, South Africa. Tel: +27 (0)21 424-0000. E-mail: Open: noon–3pm, 6pm–11pm.

Scores on the tandoors

Décor 8⃣

Food 9⃣

Service and friendliness 8⃣

Atmosphere (weekday afternoon) 5⃣

Value 8⃣

All year long

3. Reviews (International)

Nandini, Goa, India

Nandini is what we can happily call a ‘proper local’ and it’s one of the few places in this hectic section of party Goa that stays open all year round. So if you want a good curry at the start or end of season or even in monsoon times  you know where to come.

If the old adage that you should head where the locals eat is true then head here because it’s always full of Goans and out of towners from Maharashtra. It’s not hard to realise why once you’ve tasted the food. A Paneer Kadai (Rs 80), a Chicken Dopiaza (Rs 120), rice (Rs 60) and a cheese chilli nan (Rs 70) is a feast and a good a feast as you’ll have when it comes to spicy food. Cooked fresh by chefs just a few metres from the table, it’ll have you chomping for more even when your stomach says ‘”no!”

And the good thing about this is that the owner will happily share his recipes for you to take home and try yourself. Just ask. Nandini is a basic, street side restaurant but if you want great food then this is the place.

* At the time of the visit £1 = Rs 85, $1 = Rs 54.

Nandini, Kobra Vaddo, Calungute, Goa. Tel: +91 960 463 6434. Open: early till late all year.

Scores on the tandoors

Food 9⃣

Decor 2⃣

Value 9⃣

Atmosphere 8⃣

Service and friendliness 9⃣

The real Indian deal

3. Reviews (International)

Masala Korma, Fuengirola, Spain

The Chicken Dhansak (€7) I ordered was described on the menu as a ‘real Indian dish’ and indeed the food in Masala Korma is certainly real Indian food – spicy, meaty and the sauces a nice thick, but not too dry consistency. The Chicken Dopiaza (€7) had a touch of Jalfrezi about it but plenty of onions in the creamyish sauce, and I’m certainly not complaining about a bit of green pepper and tomatoes and well.

There was a decent portion of mushroom rice (€3) and although the Bombay Aloo (€5) was a bit pricey for a side dish it did the job. You can never go far wrong with this popular side dish, because again, as the menu states it’s ‘simply new potatoes cooked with onion spices and tomato’. Tasty though.

The helpful waiter took me through the interesting specials and it looks like the chef has been having some fun experimenting. As well as a section of Goan specialities (although not all those listed are actually Goan dishes) there is Chicken Manchurian (€9.75), which I was assured is indeed what it appears – a cross between Indian and Chinese dishes.

Then there is Mliyana (€7 for chicken, €8.25 for lamb) a dish cooked with red wine, pineapple, apple cream and coconut sauce), certainly one of the more unusual dishes I’ve ever seen on a curry menu. There are also a couple of interesting mixtures such as Chicken Cheese Tikka (€7) and Mushroom Madras (€7.50) a mix of your choice of meat with the vegetable in the hot sauce.

Masala Korma, C/ Lamo de Espinsosa, 3 Fuengirola, Spain. Tel: +34 (0)952 665 455.. Open: daily 6pm–late (plus Sat–Sun 1pm–4pm).

£1 = approx €1.15 and $1 = approx €0.75 at the time of the visit. 

The scores on the tandoors

Food 7⃣

Décor 6⃣

Value 7⃣

Atmosphere (late Monday) 5⃣

Service and friendliness 8⃣

More than fish

3. Reviews (International)

Nawab, Fuengirola, Spain

You’ll find Nawab up Fuengirola’s fish alley, a buzzing area that’s popular among tourists for its wide range of restaurants serving all types of things that used to swim around.

There’s fish, of course – nearly all dishes offer a variation using prawns or king prawns, while a few offer fish. However, when in fish alley each chicken and lamb, that’s what I say.

All the dishes – Chicken Rogan Josh (€8), Lamb Dopiaza (€8.50) and Chicken Biryani (€9.50) and pilau rice (€2.50) all lived up to expectations, but fish alley is about sitting, chatting and soaking up the atmosphere. There’s a great buzz here in season as tourists splash out their euros while spilling out of the numerous restaurants and bars into the alleyway. Not your traditional Indian restaurant experience but certainly one to enjoy.

£1 = approx €1.15 and $1 = approx €0.75 at the time of the visit.

Shaafis, C/. Moncayo, 12, Local 1-B, Edf. Perilla, 29640 Fuengirola, Spain. Tel: +34 (0)951 291 987. Open: daily from 5pm–1am.

Scores on the tandoors

Food 7⃣

Decor 6⃣

Value 7⃣

Service and friendliness 8⃣

Atmosphere 9⃣

When the football is over

3. Reviews (International)

Shaafis, Fuengirola, Spain (TA)

Shaafis is the sister restaurant to the Old London Pub, one of the many Brit pubs that line the seafront of Fuengirola for the tourists. Which, of course, makes it an ideal choice for a takeaway after watching football with a couple of pints of San Miguel.

My order was taken in the pub by one of the staff, taken over the restaurant (it’s at the back across the alleyway) then the food delivered to me by a friendly member of staff while I was still at the bar. The Chicken Tikka Biryani (R11.75 but 10% off for takeaways) is served with a vegetable curry and is enough for two meals for most people. What was left certainly went down well the next day.

And for those of you who read the Great Lime Pickle Swindle I am delighted to report that my request for lime pickle this time brought not only lime pickle but also pots mango chutney, onion salad, mint sauce and two popadums – all complimentary.

There is a wide range of all the favourite dishes with starters such as Seekh Kebab at €5.95, mains such as Chicken Rogan and Butter Chicken at €8.50, pilau rice at €2.95 and nan bread €2.50. It’s also worth noting that from 7pm–9pm every day you can get Chicken Jalfriezi/Tikka Masala/Bhona/Curry/Madra with rice or nan for €8.95 or add a starter (choice of Onion Bhaji, Mix Pakora or Chana Puri) for €2 more.

£1 = approx €1.15 and $1 = approx €0.75 at the time of the visit

Shaafis, C/. Castillo, 12 – 29640 Fuengirola, Spain. Tel: +3? (0)952 469 565. Open: daily from 7pm–1am.

Scores on the tandoors

Food 6⃣

Service and friendliness 8⃣

Value 8⃣

Tropical hot

3. Reviews (International)

Al Mehran, Durban, South Africa

Durban has a rich tradition of Sub-Continental food. Indeed, all things from the Sub-Continent, with the city often referred to as the largest Indian city outside of India because the majority of the 1.3 million Indians who live in the country reside here. Most were brought to South Africa as indentured workers in the 1800s although there were some slaves before this and some ‘paid-for’ passengers afterwards. Mahatma Gandhi worked and lived in the tropical city during his time in South Africa.

The large Al Mehran is run by Bangladeshis from Dhaka, and although it’s smart enough there a busy canteen feel to it with a steady flow of diners  constantly tucking into tasty, well-proportioned dishes of their favourite spicy food. Although I caught the end of the evening there was no problem and the food was served quickly and without fuss.

On recommendation from my waiter I had Keema Fry (R46.40), a variation of one of my current curry favourites. It was nice and meaty and certainly drier than the normal Keema Curry – so many mince curries can be too mushy and sloppy. It was also nicely spiced to order (it can made ‘mild’, ‘medium’ or ‘hot’ depending on your preference) and was served with pilau rice. I added chapati roti (R5.90).

The choice of Indian dishes is decent enough if fairly limited and you won’t find too many of the old-school favourites that are so popular in the restaurants in Britain (don’t worry, there are few like CTM, a range of biryanis and Aloo Mutter). But there are certainly a few that look worth trying, such as Al-Mehran Baby Chicken Masala (R76.90), Sheep’s Brain Masala (R64.90), Mutton Chops Masala (R74.90) and, of course, Durban’s signature dish Bunny Chow – curry in a loaf of bread that has been scooped out. You can choose from chicken, mutton or vegetable fillings and sizes are quarters, halves or full. Prices vary from R32.90 for a quarter vegetable to R96.90 for a full mutton.

• £1 = approx R15.50 and $1 = R9.90 at the time of the visit.

Al Mehran, 191 Marine Parade, North Beach, Durban, South Africa. Tel: +27 (0)31 332 5127. Open: daily till about 10pm. E-mail:

The scores on the tandoors

Food 7⃣

Décor 5⃣

Value 9⃣

Atmosphere (late Sunday) 5⃣

Service and friendliness 7⃣

Where buggies fear to go

3. Reviews (International)

Bombay, Benidorm, Spain

Cheesy weekends away should always include a cheeky curry. Bombay is not too far from the hotel where the Benidorm TV show is filmed. It’s not quite cheesy enough to appear in that but it’s certainly an eclectic place with a glass food counter circling round the top end of the restaurant and a random collection of photos, fake vine leaves and various other nick-nacks to keep you amused while you wait for your food.

It’s not suitable for about 70 per cent of Benidorm visitors as it’s a located on a steepish hill. I’m not sure many of the buggies zipping the old people around the town would have enough oomph to get up there but it would be funny watching them try.


Fish pakoras, made with haddock


Vegetable Jalfrazi (l) and Chicken Chillie Garlic

The Fish Pakoras (€3.60) were tasty and made a nice change while the Vegetable Jalfrazi and Chicken Chillie Garlic (both €7) were nice enough, although the sauces were a bit too similar for my liking. The waiters were nice enough but they were a bit naughty in not telling us we could have had a starter, chicken curry dish and rice/chips/nan for €7.95, a deal where we could have got more food and paid less.

Bombay, C/. Londres, 4. Rincon de Loix, Benidorm, Spain. Tel: +34 966 446 218. Open: daily 2pm–4am.

Scores on the tandoors

Food 6⃣

Decor 3⃣

Value  6⃣

Atmosphere (Saturday night) 5⃣

Service and friendliness  6⃣

The great lime pickle swindle

3. Reviews (International)

Salina’s Balti House, Fuengirola, Spain

When it comes to curries and curry restaurants I’m a pretty tolerant diner. So when I visited Salina’s Balti House, newly opened in Fuengirola and self-proclaimed specialists in Birmingham Baltis I could forgive the fact that the tout attracting us in showed  an extensive list of dishes that fell under the €7.95 Mon to Thur special (any balti with rice or nan) only for the waiter to trim it down to a handful of dishes once we’d sat down. I could forgive that the guy who does the draught beer must have forgotten to put the gas on it was that flat. I could even forgive that the bottled beer replacements were hotter than the curry so we had to drink them with ice in the glasses.

Because the food was rather good and there were decent sized portions.

What I can’t accept is being dismissed with the flick of a hand by a member of staff and told to “go away” when I raised a perfectly acceptable query about being whacked with €2.80 on the bill for a spoonful of lime pickle. That, for the mathematicians out there is a staggering 35 per cent of the cost of the meal itself. Imagine if a hamburger seller or hot dog seller did the same when your squirted ketchup on your food?

I’ve long been baffled by Indian restaurants charging for what is no more than a condiment. Regular readers of this blog will know I refer to it as the Lime Pickle tax. To be charged €2.80 is an insult. To be dismissed rudely by a member of staff for daring to query it is a disgrace.

Salina’s Balti House, C/ Moncallo, 37, Fuengirola, Spain. Tel: +34 602 014 893. Open: daily noon–3.30pm, 6pm–late.

Scores on the tandoors

Food 7⃣

Decor 5⃣

Value (if you get the special and don’t order lime pickle obviously) 7⃣

Atmosphere (Wednesday night) 6⃣

Service and friendliness 1⃣

There be large chickens

3. Reviews (International)

Chicken Tikka Palace, Durban, South Africa


I’m not sure what they feed the chickens in South Africa but they certainly enjoy it because they are huge! My snack order (the Pakistani staff had the cricket on and I fancied watching it with a bit of tandoori) was a quarter Chicken Tikka (R30) but when it arrived I had a double take at the size. Snack indeed. I tucked into the meat, which comes with chips and salad and added a Butter Nan (R4) and a Coke (Chicken Tikka Palace is Muslim run so no alcohol is served).

The meat was deeply marinated, the edges were nicely seared black as they should be, and extra sauce coated the meat. The chips and bread smothered in butter just added to the mouth-watering experience.

This is not the fanciest of places (let’s just say it’s not first date material) and late at night the beachfront is not the most salubrious area but for quality, value food and a friendly welcome, you’ll have to search far and wide.


* £1 = approx R15 at the time of visit.

Chicken Tikka Palace, Shop No 4, Blemont Arcade, 5 Weat Street, Durban, South Africa. Tel: +27 (0) 31 337 9460.

Scores on the tandoors

Food 8⃣

Decor 4⃣

Value 9⃣

Atmosphere (Saturday night) 4⃣

Service and friendliness 8⃣

Edwina’s kittens

3. Reviews (International)

Fisherman’s Cove, Candolim, Goa, India
(Review by Mark Grady)

Fisherman’s Cove was one of my favourite restaurants from last year’s trip to Goa. However, just before setting out on this year’s return visit, I did the usual checks on Trip Advisor to catch up on any local changes.

To my horror there were several really bad comments about the standard of service, which was described and rude and uncaring while the food was described as overpriced and unappetising. This was not the Fisherman’s Cove that I remembered! I found some comments seemed to be describing a different establishment altogether to the one I knew. Some seemed to have cultural questions as to whether they treat Indian customers with disdain as opposed to firangs (white foreigner).

Fearing the worst for this establishment we passed by on several nights but it still seemed as busy as ever. Had the reviewers on Trip Advisor got it wrong? Or was there a campaign against the restaurant? There have been a number of stories about seemingly coordinated reviews in the UK, with several restaurants complaining they are suddenly attacked, after years of good service to the local community, with a whole host of bad reviews. Could this have spread to the Indian resorts?

At 9pm and the restaurant was busy, there were no tables available downstairs and there was no way I was going to get my 75-year-old mum upstairs. We were shown to the side of the restaurant outside a tailor’s shop which they use as an overflow area. The advantage of this area is that you get the same waiter who serves just these few tables plus it does have a more alfresco atmosphere.

Memories of the previous year’s whole Kingfish Tandoori came flooding back when I look over the menu but I’d had a good lunch and there was no way I could tackle that at this sitting. I was looking for something different, something I’d not tried before. And there it was! Leaping out of the menu, something that shouldn’t work. Something that, if ordered, would have your mates not wanting to come anywhere near you for the next 48 hours: an Egg Curry!

Egg curry

Egg curry

It really shouldn’t work. It’s 23 degrees in the evening and hell knows where the eggs have been all day. Edwina Currie (no pun intended) would be having kittens! Anyway decision made; its new and a must-try on my list of curries.

What a revelation this curry is. Light at first, with the sauce giving just the right amount of heat and flavour. The whites of the hard-boiled egg gives body to this dish, then gives way to a creamy, bold egg-yolk taste. These are not the cheap eggs from the supermarket that we’ve become accustomed too, these hold real flavour. So if your thinking of making this at home then use free range eggs or the best you can get. The egg man at Lewisham market has a great range and has recently converted me to duck eggs as I enjoy the flavour so much more after this dish.

So with faith restored after the dark reviews on Trip Advisor and not quite feeling like Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke. I recalled that I had seen this recipe in one of my numerous curry books, which I had purchased many years ago, from the £1 bookshop in Greenwich. It’s by Meena Pathak.

* At the time of the visit £1 = Rs 85, $1 = Rs 54.

Fisherman’s Cove, Main Market Road, Candolim, Goa, India. Tel: 0832 248 9538.

Fisherman’s Cove snapshot

Food 8⃣

Decor 6⃣

Value 8⃣

Atmosphere 6⃣

Service and friendliness 7⃣