Saturday 8 December 2007

Mirchi - Albert Road, Southsea

The PLACE is new. According to the takeaway menu it was ‘newly opened on 13 November’. According to the waiter they’ve been up and running 10 weeks. Do the Maths and you'll realise you've two different answers.

As well as this fact or fiction we were told about start out offers. Free poppadoms with every main meal, complementary bottles of wine if you spend so much, percentage discounts and…a Holiday give away for two! I’d have enjoyed a 2 week break in the part of Bangladesh that’s not flooded except one had to be a party of 4 to claim (search me?).

More’s the pity, SERVICE was hospitable enough to make such a trip seem quite attractive. Perhaps a little pushy – pickles with this, that, sauces? ‘What Sauces’? ‘Erm, Mango Chutney…’ ‘No thanks we’re fine’ – but they’re keen to pay back that business loan fast. On early evidence, if word gets around, they will and without having to offer vacations to undisclosed destinations as the PRICES sit a little higher than the norm and the FOOD pretty much succeeded on all levels.

To begin fresh crab (clue = a fragment of shell) blended into a well balanced paste folded inside a sour, zesty lime peel stuffed fried bread. To follow Mirchi Dhansak. Properly hot with ripe green and red chillies giving thick lentil sauce – in turns bitter with twist of lemon, grainily sugary and peppery with mint – real piquancy. Meanwhile the tender morsels of lamb were marbled with enough fat to give extra flavour to the meat. Aubergine was stewy, bit average but always best match. As was a mound of pilau rice, rich, buttery and perfumed with cardamom. Dave chose a super svelte Padina in a runny creamy sauce distinctly flavoured with almond and mint, once again a rare multi dimensional mild curry.

In SUMMARY the dishes were colourful, well presented, came in large quantities and were packed with flavour. Ideal. No wonder Mirchi’s efforts left us feeling rather pleased.

Willp2328 score: 7.5/10

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