Greenwich Curry Club Award Winners

Curry News

Greenwich curry club logo      Goa Beer logo

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)

 

 

Most popular curry restaurant names

Curry News

What are the most popular names for curry restaurants and takeaways? Answers revealed here

It takes all sauce

2. Reviews (Other UK)

Ribble Tandoori, Clitheroe, Lancashire
(Takeaway)

As one of only a handful of curry houses serving the market town of Clitheroe, as well as the large surrounding area of villages and farms, the Ribble Tandoori needs to be good. And as it is the nearest Indian to my friend’s cottage, requiring a good 40-minute round trip, I am delighted to report that it is, which is no surprise as it’s been operating since 1993. A post-pub curry in these parts need a certain amount of planning if you live in one of the Forest of Bowland villages, so disappointment isn’t really an option.

The sauces for both the South Indian Hot Garlic Keema (£5.45) and the Rogan Josh (£5.45) were thick and tasty, using finely chopped onions instead of the oft mulched-in-blender method for the base. This found an immediate fan, not least because I have adopted this approach in my own cooking in the last couple of years. Self-validation and all that. It does take a bit longer to soften up the onions but it draws out their sweetness better and the reward in the texture is well worth it, as anyone who has dished up a curry that makes them think of baby food will agree.

The garlic in South Indian Hot Garlic Keema was similarly noticeable and its taste prominent, as indeed it should be if you order a dish with garlic in its name. It was refreshing to see this dish on the menu, and indeed there were many others that don’t appear on too many others, including Lonka Garlic Masala, Lonka Piaja, Jai Puri, Zafranai, and Hathkora. I could have stayed for ages discussing the ways these dishes are created with the friendly guy serving and watching the chefs at work in the open kitchen, but alas it was necessary for me to go and find out the bit below for where to have a beer while you are waiting.

And the curries were indeed worth the wait. We added Lemon rice (£1,95) and a nan (£1.50).

Parking: on the Waddington Road or one of the nearby side streets.

Delivery: yes, but the menu doesn’t specify a distance or a minimum. Because it serves a rural area it will depend how far away you are ordering from.

Beer while you’re waiting: the Wagon and Horses is a two-minute walk up Pimlico Road and the Royal Oak, in Waterloo Road, is four minutes.

Ribble Tandoori Takeaway, 19 Waddington Road, Clitheroe, BB7 2HJ. Tel: 1200 443368. Open: daily 5pm-11.30pm. Sunday 4pm – 10.30pm.

The scores on the tandoors

Food 8

Waiting area: 5

Value 9

Service and friendliness 8

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.

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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

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: adamscurries@gmail.com. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Adams-Curries/123673817720175?sk=info&tab=page_info

 

Manjal, London E14

photo

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: info@manjalrestaurant.com. 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)

Bit of a classic

2. Reviews (Other UK)

Aroma Spice, Macclesfield

Although we were  eating a little bit early on a Saturday night I was surprised this curry house wasn’t a bit busier. Aroma Spice is a good-to-honest curry house that ticks all the boxes: smart interior, friendly enough service and food that hits the mark. All in all this is what all curry houses were like before the contemporary restaurants started appearing.

The restaurant was recommended by a local resident and if I lived in Macclesfield this is the sort of place that I would visit regularly for my curry needs. Restaurants across Britain have been churning out classic starters like Tandoori Chicken (£2.90), Sheek and Shami Kebabs (both £2.50) for years – and the chef here certainly has perfected them in that classic (lots of red and salad) way. They all hit the spot.

The stand-out main dish was the Zinga Garlic Chill (£9.90) with plump prawns coated in a thick, juicy sauce littered with garlic, although there was certainly no complaints about the Chicken Tikka Masala (£7.50) or the Chicken Dupiazia (£6.20). Special Pilau Rice  was £2.80 and a rather good Keema Nan £2.50.

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Classic starters: Tandoori Chicken and Shami Kebabs

Aroma Spice, 40 Park Green, Macclesfield, SK11 7NE. Tel: 01625 503374/500927. Open: Sun–Thurs 5.30pm–11.30pm, Fri–Sat 5pm–midnight.

The scores on the tandoors

Food 7

Decor 7

Service and friendliness 7

Atmosphere (Saturday night) 6

Value 8

Aroma Spice on Urbanspoon

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

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: info@manjalrestaurant.com. 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

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

Carrying on up…

2. Reviews (Other UK)

The Khyber, Swindon

There is a little part along Victoria Road in Swindon that can lay claim to being Little India, with a string of spice restaurants along a tiny stretch. It would seem the Khyber was the place to kick it all off. The restaurant proudly declares itself as Wiltshire’s First and last year celebrated 50 years, the year when it was named the south west’s Caterer of the Year by the BCA. It has been in the same venue all along.

One thing that has certainly changed in that time is the decor. The long, narrow space is designed smartly in a contemporary style, with the mostly muted creams and whites offset with dashes of red and brown colour used on some of the seating. It works well and certainly looks a ‘night out’ place for couples.

Wonder how many of these they've dished up over the last 50 years?

Wonder how many of these they’ve dished up over the last 50 years?

So why after 50 years (plus one now, of course) haven’t they got the food right? The Chicken Patia (£5.95) was sweet but not sour. Or was it the other way around. Oh, I can’t remember, it was just a curry without any distinction. Which, as readers of the previous review of Jack Spice will note, is becoming a bit of theme in this town. The King Prawn Madras (£7.95) had decent-sized shellfish but was the most insipid madras I have ever had. Neither spice, nor kick, just a curry again.

This came with a tiny bowl of pilau rice (£2.35) and even the waiter chuckled when I asked which of the seven dwarves was joining us for dinner. The keema nan (£2.60) was decent enough but, again, fairytale sized. If you want to see a decent nan then check out the elephant ear.

Sometimes I can forgive a bog-standard curry when I’m hungry, especially if its good value but here the bottled Cobra is priced at £5.25 (they have draught beer at less eye-watering prices we discovered after the fact) and the popadom tax was 75p a pop.

The Khyber, 5-6 Victoria Road, Swindon, SN1 3AJ. Tel: 01793 523992. E-mail: info@thekhyber.co.uk.

The Khyber snapshot

Food 4⃣

Decor 7⃣

Value 5⃣

Atmosphere (early Friday night) 5⃣

Service and friendliness 6⃣

Old school what?

1. Reviews (London)

Babur, Forest Hill, SE23 

Two of the diners sitting at our table said the same thing.
“My wife doesn’t normally like Indian food, but she is happy to come here and eat.”

There are two ways to take that comment. The first is that Babur serves excellent food (which is does). It has received many plaudits since it opened in 1985, including being named London’s best Indian restaurant in the Zagat 2013 guide. The second is to why wonder you’d come to an Indian restaurant if you don’t like Indian food.

Pot-Roasted Rabbit

Pot-roasted Mustard Rabbit, a broth with ginger and mustard, served with garlic roti

But like all contemporary Indian restaurants, you’re going to get more than the usual list of old-school favourites at Babur. So you can order Buffalo Lal Maas with steamed rice (£15.25), a dish where the meat is clove smoked and served in a dark Rajasthani sauce. Or you can go for Pickling Spiced Duck Breast (£14.95), which comes with a sweet and sour plum sauce and carrot mash. We are, of course, told the where our food is sourced – Laverstoke Park farm and Gressingham respectively, names sure to bring excited organic squeals from some quarters. We aren’t told where the rabbits come from but the pot-roasted Mustard Rabbit (£14.25) is a broth with delicate tastes of ginger and mustard. It comes with a garlic roti.

Chicken Biryani (£13.95), Chicken Lababdor (£12.95) and Chicken Chettinad (£13.75), the later with a fool’s cap dosa as a quirky lid, are there for those who prefer their ‘curry’ dishes to be more than meat with a sprinkling of spice.

Mixed starter of Chicken Tikka, Lamb Tikka, BeetrootCutlet and Mackrel

Mixed starter of Chicken Tikka, Lamb Tikka, Beetroot Cutlet and mackerel

The starters (as recommended by the waiter ‘for large groups’) was a nice tasting mix of Chicken Tikka (£6.95), Lamb Tikka (£7.95), Beetroot Cutlet (£6.75) and pan-seared mackerel (£7.25), all of which get the thumbs up. And it was the right amount. Unfortunately, buoyed by our large table accepting his offer to choose the starters, the waiter hoisted way too many side and rice dishes on us when it came to the mains. The creamy Dal Makhani (£5.25) was the favourite side dish our up-seller came up with.

Service overall was friendly but a bit casual, which we didn’t expect from a restaurant of this calibre. One of the mains was wrong (“sorry, I can’t read my own writing,” we were told by the same waiter who could clearly read his own writing when it came to the extra sides), although in fairness this problem was fixed pretty quickly. And then the wait for the desserts was sooooo long that the chatty end of the table ended up asking for the bill and ordering taxis because they assumed the few sorbet lovers has eaten already. Your wife might like it but she will clearly have to be patient whether she is a fan of Indian food or not.

Babur, 119 Brockley Rise, Forest Hill, SE23 1JP. Tel: 020 8291 2400. E-mail: mail@babur.info. Open: daily noon-2.30pm (Sun noon-4pm), 6pm-11.30pm.

Babur snapshot

Food 7⃣

Decor 8⃣

Value 5⃣

Atmosphere (Monday night) 6⃣

Service and friendliness 5⃣

Babur Brasserie on Urbanspoon

Pretty in pink

3. Reviews (International)

Pink Chillies, Goa, India

Pink Chilli is a classy new restaurant situated inside the grounds of Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, a few minutes inland from the popular beach resorts and opposite the site of the Anjuna Saturday night market.

It’s been set up by the team that runs the Karma Café on Baga Beach, so you’ll find the same chilled atmosphere and super friendly welcome, just without the sand. It is one of the few places in Goa that is able to attract everyone – locals, holidaying Indians, Brits and Russians.

The Tandoori Lamb (Rps 400 a head) has to be ordered 48 hours in advance so it can be marinated. And, wow, how it is marinated. A thick tasty coating certainly penetrates the meat deeply after so many hours. Lamb (or sometimes mutton on menus) in Goa usually means goat, although the lamb here is imported from Maharashtra and once went ‘baa’ not ‘nanny’. Most of us curry lovers have seen this ‘order in advance’ dish on menus (it’s sometimes called Lamb Raan, which refers to the actual cut of lamb used) but few of us get round to ordering it. It’s worth it. Never have I seen a group of diners anticipating a meal such as this. From the cooking in the tandoor (cameras at the ready everyone) to the carving of the meat onto the trays, this really was an eating event.

To keep the anticipation to bearable levels, starters such as Chicken Chilli Fry (Rps 120), Prawn Chill Fry (Rps 140) and Masala Papads (popadoms loaded up with chopped onion, tomato, and chillies) provided a good selection to share around.

photo   photo

The couple who own this open-air restaurant – he from near Delhi, she from Liverpool – have created a beautifully styled venue. Pink is used on the walls, the place settings, the napkins and the menus (handmade with crushed paper), although the dark wood of the tables means the colour is not overpowering. Classic Indian posters have been framed and cover the walls, and the smart wooden carved chairs go well with the tables that have been converted from old Singer sewing machine frames. Coming soon, I’m told, will be a Tuk Tuk at the top of the stairs, where people can chill and enjoy a drink (and sure to be a hit among children and photographers). It will, of course, be painted in the restaurant’s trademark bright pink. Beep beep.

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

Pink Chilli, Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, Arpora 403518, Goa, India. Open: daily.

Pink Chilli snapshot

Food 8⃣

Decor 🔟

Value8⃣

Atmosphere 9⃣

Service and friendliness 8⃣

Curry chic

2. Reviews (Other UK)

Curry Leaf East, London, EC1Y

This smart restaurant near Moorgate appears to have a steady stream of City workers looking to enjoy a decent curry in clean, cool surroundings after work or after a few post-work drinks. It is one of about 20 in the group I am told (and yes there is a Curry Leaf West, it’s near Tottenham Court Road).

The food in Curry Leaf East is not going to be the cheapest you’ll ever enjoy but you’ll be hard pressed to find better curry. This contemporary venue is right up there when it comes to quality ingredients and offers a balanced and interesting menu without completely ditching the old favourites.

The colour palette of the restaurant is mostly cool creams but set off with dark wood chairs and metal, latticed Indian-style lights. The centrepiece is a wooden installation hanging from the ceiling that will remind you of a small whale skeleton. A couple of tables sit under this, while others line the walls of the long, narrow space.

It’s always a delight to see Chicken Nilgiri Korma (£10.95) on a menu. This spicy version of the classic offers a nice balance of creaminess and spice bite, although this one came in a greener sauce than you’ll usually find thanks to freshness of the mint and coriander used to create the sauce. There is also dark rum in this dish.

Lal Maans (£9.95), a rich Rajasthani dish, was the closest dish we could find to the craved-after Keema. But don’t expect frozen peas anywhere near this dish. The small chunks of lamb were perfectly cooked and tender, and smothered in the trademark thick, dark sauce of northwest India.

The Khumb Makai Masala (£4.50) offered button mushrooms instead of the more common slices served in other curry houses, and the baby corn supplied an excellent crunch to add to the sweetness of the dish. Add to this the tang of the Lemon rice (£3.95).

The obvious freshness of ingredients ensured all the various flavours of each dish was distinctive and balanced and none were overpowered. One moment there was the creaminess of the korma, then the kick of the chilli, then the sweetness of the lamb and the zestiness of the rice. It’s what makes Indian food so wonderful and not something we should really be surprised at, but as we all know from the more cheap and cheerful corner-of-the-street curries, this isn’t always the case.

Curry Leaf East, 20 City Road, London, EC1Y 2AJ. Tel: 020 7374 4842. Open: Mon-Fri noon-3pm, 6pm-11.30pm; Sat-Sun 6pm-11.30pm.

Curry Leaf East snapshot

Food ① ② ③ ④ ⑤

Decor ① ② ③ ④

Value ① ② ③

Atmosphere (late on Tuesday night) ① ② ③ ④

Service and friendliness ① ② ③ ④

Curry Leaf East on Urbanspoon

So far, yet so near

1. Reviews (London)

Gaylord, London, E14

The foot tunnel linking Greenwich with the Isle of Dogs was opened on 4 August 1902. Prior to that there was a ferry service. On 3 December 1999 the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) line linked the two places. The foot tunnel is free and takes about 10 minutes, while the DLR takes a couple of minutes (one stop from Curry Sark) and costs a bit more than a pound.

My friend tells me his grandad from Deptford never went north of the river in his whole life. And when it comes to curries the people of the south haven’t moved on much.

The Gaylord is a superb restaurant on the Isle of Dogs. Granted, it’s not in the most salubrious of locations but this place consistently delivers great food with friendly service and in a decent setting.

There is a large menu with all the old favourites (Murgh Madras, Murgh Korma, Murgh Dhansak, all £5.50), some even older favourites that have dropped off many other menus (Gosht Ceylon and Murgh Malaya, both £5.50), as well as specialities such as Bakhara (£6.95) with a heavily spiced herb flavour, or Shahi Jhinga Pakeezah (£10.95) charcoal-grilled prawns with diced onions.

It’s worth noting some interesting dishes. Fish lovers rejoice because the Tandoori Fish (£7.25), mildly spiced trout cooked in the tandoor offers a deep fish taste perfectly offset with some salad a bit of mint sauce. Mach Bortha (£5.25) is tagged as ‘exclusive’ and offers mashed mackerel (no bones), fairly hot (in spice terms) which can be served either hot or cold.

Bangladeshi telapia is well represented: Fish Tikka starter (£3.50) is a variation on a favourite, a classic Fish Curry (£7.95), or try Fish Massalla (£7.95) for fillets cooked in a massalla sauce.

But, why oh why is Aloo Bhortha (£3.15), a traditional Bengali dish, not on more menus? It’s worth a visit just to try this mashed potato with mustard, green chilli, fresh coriander and onions (would go well with the Greenwich Curry Club’s specially created curry sausages actually). Remember, people of south London, there is a foot tunnel and the DLR…

The Gaylord, 141 Manchester Road, Isle of Dogs, London, E14 3DN. Tel: 020 7538 0393. Open: daily noon-2.30pm, 6pm-midnight.

Gaylord snapshot

Food ① ② ③ ④

Decor ① ② ③ ④

Value ① ② ③ ④

Atmosphere (Friday night) ① ② ③

Service and friendliness ① ② ③ ④

Gaylord on Urbanspoon

West End curry

2. Reviews (Other UK)

Strand Tandoori, London, WC2E

The only thing wrong with the West End (apart from the high prices, the tourists blocking the pavements etc) is that curry houses are thin on the ground. First you have to search for your curry fix, then you get ripped off with the prices, then the food is naff because they don’t need to try because of where they are. Luckily there is the Strand Tandoori.

Okay, you have to accept that a place so close to Covent Garden is going to be a bit more more expensive than your local on the corner of your road. In fact there will be a few dishes you will probably avoid due to the prices (Tandoori Chicken at £15.50 and King Prawn Biryani at £15.95 for instance) but generally it’s not toooo bad on the wallet.

The Chicken Dopiaza (£8.25) was probably the best I have ever tasted, with a delicious slightly creamy sauce that had me scraping the serving dish and thinking there must have been a bit of yoghurt added (the waiter’s raised eyebrows told me “no” when I asked). Great sauce, crunchy onions and perfectly cooked chicken. The Lamb Sag (£8.75) also delivered with an excellent consistency and no shortage of spinach (i’ve been in a kitchen where a sag dish was bulked up with the basic masala sauce to keep costs down). Add pilau rice (£2.95) and an extremely fresh nan (£2.25).

Strand Tandoori, 45 Bedford Street, London Wc2E 9HA. Tel: 020 7240 1333. E-mail: strand tandoori@live.co.uk

Strand Tandoori snapshot

Food ① ② ③ ④ ⑤

Decor ① ② ③

Value ① ② ③

Atmosphere (late on Monday night) ① ②

Service and friendliness ① ② ③ ④

Strand Tandoori on Urbanspoon

The elephant’s ear and Prince William

1. Reviews (London)

Sartaj, London WC2

I’m not sure how big your family is but chances are the Sartaj in London’s West End is used to welcoming very large ones. Its family nan (£4.95 plus £1 if you want it stuffed with garlic, onion, cheese, coriander or mince meat) is ridiculously large at something like 60cm long by 40cm wide but it’s worth ordering just for the experience.

At first glance it looks like a giant pizza and next time I shall order one and pile three or four different curries on it, so maybe it could develop into one eventually. Either way, the elephant ear – as it was dubbed – was certainly enjoyed by the Greenwich Curry Club’s special guest, Prince William, who made an appearance to confer royal status to the curry club.

"I hope you don't think I'm eating all that on my own."

In terms of value, when you consider a normal-sized nan is £2.50, the family nan is exceptional value. But there is good value to be found on all parts of the menu at Sartaj.

The Tandoori Mix for two (£5.95) has sizzling portions of chicken tikka, sheek kebab, king prawn and fried onions, which sends a delicious aroma around this smallish curry house, while the Tandoori Lamb Chops (£3.95) was nice and meaty (although it lacked that deep tandoori taste so it could have benefited from a longer period of marinating). One twist was that puree starters – Chicken Chat Puree and Kebab Bashiri (both £3.95) – were served rolled up in the fried bread, rather than being placed flat on the bread as in most other restaurants.

All mains were served in beautiful deep dishes – ideal, in fact, for dipping in chunks of the family nan (which never seems to get any smaller no matter how many bits are torn off it). Thumbs up go to the Bengal Crab and King Prawn Curry (£10.50), its sauce thickened nicely by a generous amount of shredded crab and good amount of fair-sized prawns, and Nawabi Lamb Massala (£10.50) with its soft meat falling off a shank into a thick and dark bhuna sauce. Both meals are fit for a Prince.

Sartaj, 26 Earlham Street, London, WC2 H9LN. Tel: 020 7831 1413. Open: Mon–Wed noon–2pm and 5.30pm–midnight, Thur–Sun noon–midnight.

Sartaj snapshot

Food ① ② ③ ④

Decor ① ② ③

Value ① ② ③ ④

Atmosphere (Tuesday night) ① ② ③

Service and friendliness ① ② ③

Sartaj on Urbanspoon