Tuesday 26 May 2009

Great Nepalese - Euston, NW1

As a rule of thumb the Great British Public are not often wrong, Daily Mail readers allowing, I trust most people's opinions. Great Nepalese has an enthusiastic and very loyal following, or, on the evidence of Tuesday's visit, rather a misgiven and very stoic following who are indeed wrong as to what constitutes good food.

Enter through the door (after a fashion) plastered with stickers endorsing the culinary achievements of the restaurant, from Egon Ronnay to the Good Curry Guide, the last dated 2002-3. Yet! Lo and behold, wheredidallthetimego, here we are six years later, about to enter the LED future! Technology has moved on and so has the London dining scene - Great Nepalese hasn't, in fact it's been positively stationary for a quarter of century, maybe more.

Poppadoms were stale and the chutney tray exceptionally dull and unenthusing. The mango lassi was watery. No appetisers so Aidan and I cut straight to the main course. My Dhaba Mutton, a few hunks of meat in a cinnamon tinged, red brown runny sauce - distinctly average, Bhanta, aka Aubergine, tasted more like bland courgette and may have come from the same stock. Meanwhile Aidan's Madras was identical to the dish I consumed with little relish save for a raw looking green chilli or two, even good pilau rice and professional service couldn't make up for it!

Petersfield really is lucky to have the Gurkha Chautari and Durbar around if this is the best London has to offer (which it isn't but nevermind).


Willp2328 score: 4/10

Sunday 17 May 2009

Zeen - Euston, NW1

Open the menu and it's hard for one's heart not to sink at the invitation to 'Begin Your Voyage', just one of a series of roadside-caf-style seafaring quips, substituted for proper a la carte headings. Yet, however corny and irrelevant these are, the descriptions of the pan Indian food wash well and make one want to steer north eight knots and so forth...

As Mary, Rosemary and I were really the only diners in the very orange, clean lined basement canteen, combined wait and kitchen staff were able to pay us their full attention.

For starters, we were delivered a mini plate of crisp sized cumin flavoured poppadoms and gorgeous, aromatic mango chutney, fragrant with whole spices. There followed unusual batter fried bhindi that could possibly have been a little less chewy, and two fat pale sausage sheeks requiring more seasoning and spice.

Things improved vastly with the main courses: an ace Chicken Madras, decent hunks of flesh in an unctuous gravy, rich with cinnamon, bittersweet cloves, creamy coconut and sour chillies plus an inarresting dish of great juicy courgettes stuffed with a cheesy, starchy filling, luxuraint in a toothsome nutty, onion sauce. The plain rice was great and a big, sweet, milky lassi was also much enjoyed.

Now that I've been and zeen, I will return to Drummond Street, a lesser known foodie haven for sub continental food, and depending on the company, may give the place another go as it's pretty similar to, if perhaps not quite as good as Masala Zone.

FOOD (& DRINK): 3.5

Willp2328 score: 7.5/10

Wednesday 13 May 2009

Chilli Night, Haslemere - 13 May 2009

The Inn on the Hill is a great place for pre-curry drinks, and their 1 Kg steak promotion looks massive - but maybe too much for me. But the aim of our visit was Chilli Night, and they didn't disappoint: lovely food - decent wine - average bill: great evening.

Excellent mixed starters with a delicious fresh chutney were followed by

Lamb Jalfrezi
Prawn Madras
Batak (Duck) Shashlik
Lamb Rogan
Garlic Chilli Chicken (my favourite)
accompanied by Bombay aloo and Tarka Dhal.

El Presidente insisted on chapatis and stuffed paratha. Your webmaster / blogmeister wanted garlic naan and plain rice. In the end, more of the chapatis were eaten than the plain rice and naan, so we concede to the wisdom of El Presidente.

It was a good evening. Next time: Gurkha Chautari, Liphook.