We’re not that well endowed with decent South Asian restaurants in North Cheshire – places with a “proper” menu and not serving up the “any protein with any sauce” of your standard high street curry house. There’s Dilli in Altrincham, there’s Sindhoor in Burnage, there’s Seven Spices and there’s.......well, that’s really about it.
And even here, the meal was very much a game of two halves.
There were some nice mini-pappads to start, with three decent chutneys – thinnish mango which managed not to be the lurid colours of the curryhouse, a soft yoghurt one and pokey one of mint, chilli & lime. Liked the last one a lot.
Aloo papri chaat was a good follow-on. A nice mix of chickpea, potato, onion and crisp pastry dressed with a very zingy yoghurt and tamarind sauce. Perhaps a bit oversauced and a bit too wet – but it was well seasoned.
Aloo tikki was the restaurant’s take on potato croquette, with the addition of the odd pea. It was just bland and very underwhelming and was barely lifted by a mint and tamarind sauce.
Distinctly not bland was a special of Rajasthani lamb. I asked what it was and was told that it was like a standard rogan josh but hotter due to the use of roasted red chillis. OK, so having been warned about the heat, it is probably churlish to comment that it was too hot. But it was. There was none of the fragrance and rounded spicing of a well made rogan josh. This was raw chilli heat – the sort that caught at the back of your throat. It could have been so much better and it should have been so much better. Such a shame.
There were much better goings-on on the other side of the table. Gosht Do Piaza brought the same tender lamb as my dish but, also, a cleverer, more subtle use of spicing and, in particular, chilli. Yes, of course, there was heat in there, but it wasn’t dominating the sauce’s masala.
For carbs, a generous bowl of perfectly cooked fluffy basmati rice and a similarly bang-on tandoori roti, charred round the edges but not so much that it snapped.
Service is attentive and smiley. The room is decorated and furnished in a modern style and there’s table linen and a decent wine list. Herself saw off three bottles of Peroni while I sipped my way through a jug of sweet lassi. So efforts are certainly made here. It’s only just up the road, so we’ll obviously be back but must remember to choose more wisely next time