The Greenwich Curry Club’s Favourite Restaurant for 2017 is the Darjeeling in Lewisham. The friendly 50-seater restaurant got the thumbs up from voters for the main prize in this year’s Greenwich Curry Club Awards, which is sponsored by Goa Premium Beer. This is the first year the company, which produces gluten-free beer that is ideal with spicy food, has sponsored the Awards.
“Thanks to the support of Goa Beer we have enjoyed the best ever Awards and are delighted that they joined us in celebrating the restaurants, takeaways and staff that make this such a great industry in our area,” said Daniel Ford, founder of the Greenwich Curry Club.
The Awards, which recognises excellence in the local industry, has been held in association with the Greenwich Visitor – the only local newspaper to run a regular curry column – since 2011. All the awards were chosen by local curry lovers, who voted online for their favourite restaurants and takeaways, except for the Goa Beer Greenwich Curry Club Special Award, which was chosen by members of the Greenwich Curry Club. Restaurants and takeaways in SE10, SE3, SE8, SE7 and SE13 were eligible. This includes Greenwich, Maze Hill, Blackheath, Westcombe Park, Lewisham, Ladywell, Deptford, New Cross and Charlton.
Darjeeling owner Foyeg Kazi, who has been running the restaurant for 15 years, said: “We have a loyal following so it is thanks to them we have picked up this award. I’m thrilled for the team and we will keep working to serve up good quality food at real value prices.”
The restaurant has built a reputation for offering a menu that offers exceptional value, so it is no surprise that the Darjeeling also won the award for Restaurant Offering Outstanding Value, an award they have now won three times.
Mogul Home Dining Kitchen, located along the Trafalgar Road in Greenwich, picked up the Favourite Takeaway award. The Mogul name has become a byword for top-quality Indian food in Greenwich and this year the restaurant celebrates its 40th anniversary. The Home Dining Kitchen was opened in 2011 to offer a dedicated takeaway service. Owners Mr and Mrs Dev said: “This is great, especially as it comes on such a special anniversary for the Mogul.”
The ever-popular Mountain View, also on the Trafalgar Road, was voted as the Restaurant Offering Outstanding Service. Some fresh, young faces have joined the established service team this year and the smooth, friendly service from everyone on the floor has clearly not gone unnoticed by the voters.
Kasturi, Charlton’s classy Indian restaurant, announced its arrival onto the local scene by picking up the Favourite New Restaurant award and with its undoubted quality it is sure to be challenging for more awards in future years.
Members of the Curry Club decided that this year’s Goa Beer Greenwich Curry Club Special Award should go to the Royal Nepalese in Westcombe Park in recognition of its outstanding main dish Langtang Lamb. This succulent Himalayan dish, cooked with garlic, ginger, green chilli, fresh mint and mango chutney, had even the grumpiest of members cooing in delight and that in itself is worth an award.
“The Greenwich Curry Club Awards are an excellent initiative, recognising the merits of best local curry houses and encouraging ever higher culinary standards,” said Goa Premium Beer MD Ben Parmar, who added, “We applaud Daniel Ford’s endeavours and hope other areas of the country will take Greenwich’s lead and organise their own, similar local awards scheme”.
The Winners Favourite Restaurant: Darjeeling (Lewisham) Favourite Takeaway: Mogul Home Dining (Greenwich) Restaurant Offering Outstanding Service: Mountain View (Greenwich) Restaurant Offering Outstanding Value: Darjeeling (Lewisham) Favourite New Restaurant: Kasturi (Charlton) Goa Beer Greenwich Curry Club Special Award for Outstanding Dish (Langtang Lamb): Royal Nepalese (Westcombe Park)
What you need
• 8 eggs
• 3 potatoes
• salt to taste• 3 tbsp oil
• 1 onion finely chopped
• 2 tsp roughly chopped garlic
• a 2-3cm piece of ginger peeled and roughly chopped
• 1 tin chopped tomatoes
• a small handful of coriander (tear the leaves off and chop the stems)
Spice mix 1
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 2 cloves
• 2 cardomom pods (cracked open slightly)
• 6 peppercorns
• 3 whole dried red chillies (or a tsp of crushed dried chillies)
• 1 bay leaf
Spice mix 2
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 1 tsp cummin
• 1/2 tsp chilli powder (add more if you like your curries hot)
How to cook
1. Hard boil the eggs and remove the shells.
2. Peel and slice potatoes and pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle potatoes with salt.
3. Heat the oil and fry the potatoes until they are cooked through and just start to brown. Set aside.
4. Fry the eggs in the same oil for about 5 minutes, rolling them frequently to avoid them crisping. Remove eggs and set aside.
5. Turn up the heat to ensure the oil is piping hot. Add the whole spices and cook for 20-30 seconds (cover the pan with a lid as it may spit). Timing is important. You want to infuse the oil with the flavours of the whole spices but if they burn you will have to do stage 5 again.
6. Add onion, garlic, ginger and tomatoes and turn down to a medium heat. Cover and cook for about 12-15 minutes, stirring from time to time to avoid the sauce sticking.
7. Add the Spice Mix 2 with some salt, and stir in thoroughly. Cook for another 10 minutes. You may need to add in some water if the sauce is too thick.
8. Add the potatoes and eggs. Stir so the eggs are covered with the sauce but be careful not to break them up. Heat through for about five minutes.
9. Spinkle on the coriander.
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
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.
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.
If you scroll down you will see on the right hand side http://www.curryclubs, which is the start of what will hopefully become a fairly comprehensive list of links to UK Curry Clubs. Some are business or networking clubs, while others are informal groups who get together regularly just for fun. The common thread is a love of curry (and alcohol by the look of things).
Those listed are the ones who appear to be active, but please contact me if you know any of these to be defunct or if you have links to other curry clubs. There are also likely to be many more who don’t bother with a blog or website.