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

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

IMG_1720

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.

IMG_1717

* £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


Lunch not so special

3. Reviews (International)

Zaika, Fuengirola, Spain

Lunch specials are sometimes a bit hit and miss. For a limited menu you get good value, but not necessarily great portions or quality. So it seems with Zaika, a pleasant curry house facing out to sea in the busy Spanish holiday resort of Fuengirola.

The special, offering a starter (Pakora, Onion Bhaji or popadoms), a main (Chicken Curry, Madras, Bhuna or Korma) and rice or nan. Not bad for €8.95, especially washed down with a large San Miguel.

But I always get suspicious when I see the chicken in a curry has been in the tandoor. I know it’s a bonus to some people but when the dish doesn’t normally include marinated meat I can’t help but think it’s just a way of using up unsold tikka from the night before.

Suspicions aside, the Chicken Bhuna was perfect in consistency, thick with tomatoes, onion and fresh coriander, but plenty of tasty ghee (ideal for me but maybe bit greasy for some) and the rice and nan fresh. But the Chicken Madras flopped, with the sauce some sort of spicy tikka masala, which would have been fine for a lunch curry fix had it not been for a bitter taste of uncooked ground spices.

But there are worse places to have a curry lunch, with a number of outside tables offering views of the sea (albeit across a road) and a large, nicely set out interior that deserves an evening try.

When the lunch special ends at 4pm, by the way, the evening special kicks in. Add €2 to the price and your selection of dishes rockets, and includes a number of lamb and tikka masala dishes. Don’t mind marinated meat in that one, thanks.

Zaika, Paseo Maritimo Rey de Espana, 18, Fuengirola, Spain. Tel: +34 952 462 695. Open: daily 1pm–1am (lunch menu 1pm–4pm)

Zaika snapshot

Food ① (the Madras) or ① ② ③ (Everything else)

Decor ① ② ③ ④

Value ① ② ③

Atmosphere (Tuesday afternoon) ① ②

Service and friendliness ① ② ③