It’s Indian (mainly Gujarati). It’s vegetarian. It’s unlicensed. It’s cracking value for money. It’s Good Food Guide listed. It’s featured on TV in “Ramsay’s Best Restaurant”. And it’s good. Very, very good.
They have two rooms, opening one only at dinner, just for walk-ins. This lunchtime, with just one room open, every chair had a bum on it and probably a similar number were turned away. Nearly an hour’s drive from home, we’re glad we’d made reservations.
Planning for the two of us to share everything, we ordered up three starters. Hara bara kebab was peas and cauliflower mashed together, rolled into shape and fried. It was excellent – a soft but non-sloppy texture accurately spiced. The dhal kachori was a complete contrast in texture – again a soft centre of pureed lentils, punchy with chilli - but encased in a piece of chapatti (or rotli as it is known in Gujarati), then deep fried to a very crisp crispness. Our third starter was a chaat – chopped samosa, mixed with potato, chickpeas, onion, drizzled with youghurt and tamarind. This was another really good contrast, the yoghurt and tamarind bringing sweetness that worked well with the considerable savouriness of the other two dishes. There was a good pickle selection served separately – raita, mango chutney, something akin to lime pickle but wasn’t and another, I think, of mainly tamarind juice.
On to main courses and, again, we’d gone for a contrast. Although the owners are North Indian, they are rightly proud of their dosas – usually a southern speciality. We went for the simple massala dosa – the best I’ve eaten, it was a masterpiece. Light, crispy, a good filling of very lightly spiced potato & onion. Served separately, a thin lentil based sauce to drizzle over it and a coconut and yoghurt chutney that was absolutely lovely.
To contrast, chole – a chickpea curry that was as delicious as it appeared simple. Chickpeas in a thick and spicy sauce. Perfect to go with the kichdi (rice & lentil) we’d ordered as a carb – never had this before and it’s one heck of a delicious revelation. Finally, a couple of rotli helped to mop up the last bits of sauce.
Service was bang-on – with the one waiter, who was clearly on top of his game, explaining dishes to customers who seemed hesitant about what to order or, indeed, how to eat a dosa. Cost, including a tip, just on forty quid. Brilliant. Just brilliant.