Thursday 27 March 2008

Gandhi - Kingston Road, Portsmouth

2 hours in the Odeon watching Ratatouille gave Tim, my brother and I an appetite. As we filed out of the cinema 8 o’clock was fast approaching, high time for food. There’s a multitude of ethnic eateries to chose from in North End though on this occasion I’d booked a table at Gandhi in advance.

The PLACE has been a stalwart on the restaurant scene in Pompey but recently received a make over. It’s very slick, bronze fittings, cushy booths with white gold upholstery and a team of black clad waiters who (shock horror) realise that when one makes a reservation one expects a table made ready. So it was that we were led to ours. SERVICE was effecient, albeit a little robotic.

First job was to sort drinks and poppadoms etc. A decent Chardonnay, tap water, mango chutney aromatic with a little cardamom – mint sauce, onion salad. Despite opulent appearances PRICES are modest.

The menu offers FOOD with a difference. Specials - unrecognisable from trad curry house fare – made me suspicious (I don’t like fusion), so I chose Lamb Korai, cinnamon spiced pilau rice and bhindi. The Korai was a thick, rich and fibrous tomato based curry, plummy, salty with musky bitterness of curry leaves and fenugreek. The Bhindi, buttery and charred with crispy fried onions. A hearty meal had began with Beguni Murgh. Melt in mouth diced chicken wrapped and pinned inside an aubergine slice. Packed with flavour – eager spring onions, savoury sweet green pepper and a creeping heat from shredded chillies, tangy coriander.

...My first experience of Gandhi was good. The second occured the following Friday, after a few hours pub philosophy on Nationalism. Had another table booked for 3. Sat opposite me, Simon and Emma. Ordered Crab Malabar, moist orange brown patties on a very clean plate, plenty of meat but a touch briney. Then came a Lamb Dhansak served in a white boat. Well textured lentil sauce, plenty of fenugreek, sour with lemon juice sweetened with grainy palm sugar. Impressed by Brinjal Bhajee. Aubergine quartered lengthways, tasty eggy flesh augmented by considerate spicing. Sampled Emmas Biriani, excellent smooth livery duck (all agreed on high quality of meat/poultry) accompanied by too great a serving of an average Vegetable Curry as well as Simons Rajestani curry which was wet, coconutty, possessing a sour limey aftertaste in part derived from green finger chillies.

...Thoughts of an evening spent watching another labourious England football friendly proved the cue to visit Ghandi a third time, still glamourous enough for WAG's. Early April showers (in March) had made the extra time to walk to Blue Cobra an unattractive proposition.

A decent Lamb Bhuna was tanic, like a French Stew (a Bourguignon?) redolent of red wine soaked meat, bittersweet cloves, pervasive fenugreek, pungent curry leaf. Nutty Chana Masala, suffered from burnt onions which imparted a charred taste while a starter of mussels in their shells, garnished with rice was unexceptional and underwhelming flavour wise. Although I felt queasily full on leaving my sisters really enjoyed their meal (a mixed biriani and lamb korai) both of which are very good.

In SUMMARY Ghandi is one of the better 'Indians' in Pompey though not the best .

FOOD: 3.5

Willp2328score: 6.5/10

No comments: