Wednesday 28 January 2009

The Greedy Buddha - Parsons Green

Buddha is an exception in that he is the only fat oriental I know, besides Sumo wrestlers, and I don't know any of them (largely because they aren't out of nappies yet and are a few years behind me at school). Moreover, 'greedy' isn't neccesarily a word I would associate with deity of any sort but again Buddha attracts adjectives like no other - 'funky', 'laughing' and 'drunken' are but three. Anyhow, before I get mired in theology, on Tuesday night my cousin took me out for dinner. 'Would curry be okay?' (!).

The restaurant itself sits on a quiet street corner in a Parsons Green backwater. It might be hard to find without local knowledge, though it filled up soon after our arrival - must have heard we were there! A small dining room, bamboo shoots growing out the walls, sits above a downstairs hosting music on Thursdays and weekends.

Staff appear Nepali or Thai or...yet the food with a few tantalising exceptions (Rose scented Lamb, Mint Chicken Tikka, Nepalese Curry) is really typical Indo-British. Portions are fit for Buddha himself, Poppadoms are complimentary and the Mango Lassi was the fruitiest, most vibrant I've enjoyed.

We shared starters of Fish Tikka - succulent, oily, white fish in delicious charcoal sour coating - and Momo, less slippery than usual, but stuffed with gorgeous herby, fatty lamb. The adjoining table had the mixed grill, enough meat for a week. We followed up appetisers with Rose scented Lamb and Chicken Chilli Masala, fresh and positively bursting with flavour, a piquant spice blend, tart lemon rind, juicy spring onions, sundried tomatoes and plenty of fire from smarting green chillies. A big bowl of perfectly done steamed rice, slightly audente and not remotely sticky proved more than adequate accompaniment.

Great local for lucky Sloanes!


Willp2328score: 8/10

Sunday 25 January 2009

Bombay Spice - Guildford

If I had the choice of cohabiting in a mud hut up North, waking up to ice in the sink in mid summer and subsisting off tea and parkin or living in a modernist Guildford apartment, it would be hard to decide.

Day trips to the traffic infested, shopping maul, so hip with jeenagers are as much as I can stand, although, beer and curry, as well as the company of my oldest mate (we go way back -veterans of the Boer War indeed) make it a perfectly acceptable location for a Sunday lunch.

For a popular place Guildford hasn't got a lot to offer on the food front beyond TGI Friday's ecetera ecetera, as a consequence, Bombay Spice must be a contender for best restaurant. It's pretty good and close to the station!

Sat in the window, Graham and I enjoyed a chutney tray with great lime and green chilli pickle and an inarresting raita, Poppadoms crisp and warm, as well as decent starters; mine, Chicken Tikka, firm morsels, coated in a spicy paste redolent of sour chilli, earthy tumeric and lemon. The main event, Lamb Rogan was well presented and delicious - dense, protein rich red meat, thick reddish brown gravy, heady coriander and fennel (nice kashiri touch!). Mouthfuls of aromatic pilau and chick peas in an onion tomato sauce also passed my lips.

No Beer, that followed later.


FOOD (& DRINK): 4/5
VALUE: 4/5

Willp2328score: 7/10

Tuesday 20 January 2009

January report - Paradise Balti, Petersfield (Wed 14th)

Paradise Balti welcomed us warmly (both ourselves and our taste buds) for our 2009 kick-off meeting. Fourteen members attended - a good turn-out, and in fact a majority of these had been at the Petersfield Rugby Club's annual Vice Presidents' lunch on the preceding Saturday. This may be evidence that Curry Club members have outstanding stamina, or at least great powers of recovery, or just can't be kept away from good food and drink!

The food, chosen by the restaurant, was a great selection of tasty choices. Starters included chicken and lamb tikka, and prawn butterfly. Mains included a beautifully-flavoured but not scorching hot chicken vindaloo, lamb padina, mixed korai, chicken balti, gamchi (can't read my own writing - garlic chilli?) chicken, prawn dhansak, lamb tikka dupiaza, and a sizzling and delicious chicken tikka straight from the tandoor. The restaurant chose well and it was a good decision to offer just eight - if I counted correctly - varieties of main dish, compared to about 16 last time. Much easier to compare and contrast the tastes.

So we enjoyed a convivial evening, and decided that in February we will venture out of Petersfield. Shahanaz in Haslemere has an excellent reputation and is due for a visit, as we didn't make it there in 2008. Please note that this is a change from the previously-announced plan to go to Madhuban.

Monday 5 January 2009

Spice Bazaar, Rupert Street, Soho

In London to see Bill Bailey's Tinselworm show at the Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, we needed somewhere to eat beforehand. Samurai Sushi, a few Chinese places, and Spice Bazaar were the contenders. We chose Spice Bazaar because we were able to be seated immediately. They met one other criterion - we were fed in time to have a drink at the theatre before the performance.

My chicken madras was watery - it had no onion! The chicken 'rogan' had double onion, and the meat for both dishes seemed to have met the sauce about 3 seconds before it came to the table. These two dishes, one naan, one rice, three papadums, plus one large and one small Cobra, came to over £33 before tip. They should do better for this money - you certainly can!

By the way, Bill Bailey was great - during the final sequence I laughed so much that tears came to my eyes. 'Hallelujah' will never seem the same again. Nice chap too - he signed the front of the programme for Ruth in the pub. Fantastic evening despite the meal.

Thursday 1 January 2009

Karim's - Brighton

There are a plethora of restaurants in Brighton and though many are over rated and over priced, there is something to suit every bad taste - now I‘m being unfair, perhaps this isn‘t strictly true.

Among several Indian’s is Karim’s. Bar and reception at street level, dining room in the basement, stylish, but in a mid-nineties way, before true restaurant chic had washed up on the south coast.

We were served by every member of staff on view, starting with lassi’s, regulation poppadoms and chutney tray, (extra points for capsaicin green chilli chutney), then ok starters of sweetish barbecue sauce flavoured chicken tikka and salmon fish cakes, before Methi Chicken with a really good pervasive savouriness, runner beans in a lovely thick, nutty and spicy cream, as well as multi coloured rice and a sadly mild, pineapple juicy Patia.

Overall the place is certainly better than average and it has a good reputation in the area even if it is simultaneously devoid of atmosphere and a not particularly cheap.

FOOD (& DRINK): 3.5

Willp2328score: 6.5/10