It’s some months since we last ate here but we were welcomed back as though we were regulars. That typifies the hospitality that Sandeep and his colleagues offer to customers. The restaurant is just coming up to its first anniversary and it was good to see them so busy on a Sunday evening. It’d be fair to say that they seemed a bit stretched and there were a couple of hiccoughs - wrong drink order, for example. Nothing that would interfere with the enjoyment of good food – and it is good food. Really good food.
I’ve eaten the Sharabi Chicken before as a starter. It’s an absolute belter. Moist meat, lots of fried onion and chilli. Google tells me that sharabi means alcohol and, interestingly for an Indian restaurant, the dish is finished with white wine. The other starter was masala dosa. It’s everything you want from a dosa – crisp pancake, spicy potato filling, lovely coconut chutney and a light vegetable sambar.
For mains, we both went down the vegetarian route. Aloo gobi was a good version of the classic. The quantities of both potato and cauliflower were well balanced and perfectly cooked so both retained a little bite to them. Very clingy sauce which was nicely rounded with no spice particularly dominating. The use of chilli was particularly well considered – yes, it was there giving a good kick but not overwhelming other spices or the vegetables. Barli Vanga is one of many dishes on the menu from Sandeep’s home state of Maharashtra. Baby aubergines come cooked in a really delicious sauce that includes the savouriness of peanuts and slight background sweetness from jaggery. It’s a very Indian sauce, nothing like the sweetish peanut satay sauce you might get in a Malaysian restaurant. The only minor issue I had with the dish is that, with the aubergines being fully cooked, they sort of collapsed into the sauce so there was no texture to it. I’m sure that’s how it’s supposed to be and it did mean it was all very easy to scoop up with the excellent naan and equally good rice. Sandeep told us that there’s a new menu coming in a couple of weeks and he’s going to offer the sauce with chicken and lamb. It’ll be a winner and we’ll be back soon to try it.