[Pickering, North Yorkshire] Namaste Bengal

You know that it’s a bog standard curry house. So you only have an expectation that the food will be halfway decent. And expectations were met. Service was excellent – everyone clearly working as a team . keeping an eye on the tables as they walked through the room. So, for example, an empty beer bottle will be whisked away almost within seconds of it being emptied.

Seekh kebab is something I’ll often order in a new place. I know what a good one tastes like, so it sort of sets the scene for the meal. This was a good version. Moist flavoursome meat, with just a hint of charring. It comes with a little bowl of raita, a handful of salad leaves and fried peppers and onions. Aloo tikki came in the form of a couple of deep fried patties of mashed potato and lentils. Flavours disappointingly muted here. There’s the same salad and raita.

Sabzi masala was mixed vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, cabage and peas – in a mild, slightly sweetened tomato based sauce. Think a veggie version of chicken tikka masala and you’ll get the idea. You’ll love it if you love chicken tikka masala, not so much if you prefer your Asian dishes with a bit more oomph. “Sylheti Special Chicken” was said to be an authentic dish from the owners’ home province in Bangladesh. So, that was worth a punt. Unfortunately, it was quite mono-dimensional – the only spicing that could be detected was just from chilli. But it was fine as far as it went – I remembered I hadn’t had high expectations.

Carbs were good. Nice fluffy pilau riceand atandoori roti which was just as it should be – soft with a little charring round the edges.

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Making noodles. Phongdien Town, Cantho City, Southern Vietnam.
Credit: CiaoHo