Thursday 12 July 2007

Golden Curry - Southsea

To step in is to step back in time. I vouch the PLACE hasn’t changed since 1979. Lime green wallpaper, mahogany brown chairs, table lamps, paper napkins, heavy-duty stainless steel cutlery to eat with. SERVICE by old hands polite and functional, prepared to make recommendations. PRICES are lower than nowadays too. Specials with rice circa £7-8.

Began by ordering very crisp Poppadoms for 3. With me, Rich, trainee PE teacher, part time DJ, Aaran, a courier with the travel bug. He tells me best curry he’s ever had from a box somewhere in Birmingham. Indeed the Golden Curry almost of same vintage as pioneering Birmingham Balti Houses. Calls itself a Tandoori restaurant but FOOD cooked with similar principles. For example the meat (lamb or beef), chicken is taken off bone, after being simmered in own juices, and put in your curry. Main course, Korai Gosht, just so. Cuts of lean Lamb in a rich medium sauce, fresh with coriander, slivers of green pepper, stewed toms bursting with juicy flavour. Chana Sag, filling and fibrous, more green pepper and tomato. Started with 2 Shami kebabs, mince burgers, no gristle, hints of ginger, coriander, lemon. 1 well seasoned t’other a tad dry, scorched round the edges.

One shouldn't expect genuine Indian, Bangladeshi fare or innovative fusion. Chutneys include watery mango chutney (a no no), sharp, thin, acrid tasting pickles, something sub contintenals are famed for. Range of starters are unexceptional. Aforementioned Shami Kebabs, ok, sinewy lamb tikka, less so, Tandoori Chicken, just enough flesh on rather mean sized leg. Sundries can disappoint. Pilau rice a bit dull and parched. When a liquid Tarka Dall arrived it kept trying to run away from me as if embarrassed by blackened apperance.

No, the restaurant is all about standard British curry. Juicy, piquant Chicken Chilli Massala had several naunces, kept me coming back for more. Meat Bhuna. Spot on. Arguably best I've tried. Dry, meaty with soothing coconut aftertaste. Bombay Aloo. Supreme waxy potatoes in a mild yet pleasing mush of onion and tomato, underlined with earthy pungency of tumeric.

If first visit to Golden Curry merited a Silver, second time left brassed off. Were it not for good company visit would have been a waste. With so many curry hos* to choose from in the Petersfield, Portsmouth area I wouldn't usually return after a rather average food experience but chance would have it that Aaran, 21 at the time of writing, soon 22 had decided on having an early birthday at the GC. 10 of us sat down together, 2 original Falkland Islanders (gran and grandpa) and a Kenyan (aarans step dad). A lovely evening ensued, everyone enjoyed their meal.

In SUMMARY, the restaurant isn't exactly comparable with other 'top 100', the Madhuban, not really an 'all rounder'. Its a traditional house serving formula curry, big flavours from prime ingredients. Good stuff except nowadays with foodies at large this is becoming the standard.

* houses (I'm not a serial manoganist with a passion for indian women)

Willp2328 score: 6/10

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