Tuesday 31 March 2009

Masala Zone - Islington, N1

My sisters 21st birthday meal was a surprise. Not that I didn't expect her to make the grand old age, I just didn't expect to be invited, or for it to occur on a Monday when she and her friends were supposed to be on a last minute holiday to Portugal. In the modern age, as they discovered, passports are required for international travel, unless of course you have recourse to an uber efficient military.

The Islington branch of Masala Zone, from the creators of Veeraswamy etc, was chosen on account of their vegetarian sympathies. It's a posh canteen, a la Wagamamma, except with more atmosphere inside, smart furnishings but low back chairs, so one can only sit upright or slouch forward...and as my headmaster used to say: 'all joints on the table shall be cut!'

I started with Chassa (a low fat indian diary drink with coriander, certainly an acquired taste) as well as a large and highly satisfying serving of Aloo tikki - fried potato nuggets drenched in a delicious, warm, sweet, tamarind sauce with chickpeas, earthy cumin seeds and cooling yoghurt.

I continued with lamb kholapuri, a chilli hot, rich, sour aniseedy curry with tender morsels of meat, sampled a chicken madras, plenty of heat, redolent of roasted coconut and the pervasive savoury flavour of curry leaf and enjoyed the rice, moist and plentiful, with a basket of neatly folded chapatis.

In summary, Masala Zone is very good. It's not worth listening to the dissenters, of which there are some, because they come across as spoiled/niggardly, so in one word: recommended!

FOOD (& DRINK): 4.5

Willp2328 score: 8.5/10

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