It’d be fair to say that Gatley wasn’t going short of South Indian places before GTM opened a week or so back. If my count is correct, then this makes a total of four restaurants and a further three takeaways. The other restaurants have been around for some time – one of them for donkeys years. So, what to make of another bog standard “any protein with any sauce” high street curry house?
Now, of course, we had no great expectations so don’t sit there with bated breath hoping for a culinary surprise. But, you know, they didn’t do too bad. Not too bad, at all.
Let’s get the negatives out of the way early. And there are negatives. Well, there was zero atmosphere – perhaps that was due to there being zero customers, apart from us. Well, apart from one takeaway customer who came in not long before we left. And, with an open kitchen, they need to turn the extractor fan up as it became eye-wateringly smoky a couple of times. And, for some, it will be a negative that they don’t have an alcohol licence.
We declined the “free” poppadoms and got stuck into the starters. I suppose seekh kebab is my “test starter”. I’ve had good ones and I’ve had bad ones. But it's something that I know what I should be getting. And this was a let down. It was just bland in taste and pappy in texture. Piazi (Pyaz?) pakora was much better – onions in a crisp gram flour coating with some decent spicing – a world away from the nastiness of the takeaway onion bhaji. Turmeric very much in evidence, including the stains on my partner’s new white trousers.
There was a vegetable handi for one main course – potatoes, broccoli, carrot, onion, in a well flavoured tomato based sauce. It came with a naan and the “special” pilau rice – lots of peas, coriander and slices of hard boiled egg. Now, my partner isn’t a big fan of egg, but I thought this was really good.
The “staff curry” may be the most generous serving of chicken I can recall in an Indian restaurant. OK, it was a tad overcooked, but only a tad, and there was a good clingy oniony sauce. That came with the ordinary pilau which was actually a bit claggy. We shared a side order of a tinda bhaji – gloopy mini-pumpkins, probably straight out of a tin – it was OK.
So, do I need to rush back? Well, no I don’t. There are better restaurants within a short drive. But I wouldn’t try to talk someone out of going there – you’re not going to be leaving hungry.