The words still echo in my ears.
“You’ll like it, John. It’s only in Preston and it’s in the Good Food Guide”.
I thought “I’m not schlepping 40 miles up the M6 for fusion anything and certainly not for fusion curry.”
But these aren’t the words that echo. That came few days later when I was Googling and spotted that Bangla Fusion had another restaurant much closer, in Rochdale. I turned to Mrs H and, before I could stop myself, the fateful words were out. “Shall we go?”
So we did. It’s situated on the moors north of Rochdale in a building formally occupied by Andrew Nutter’s eponymous restaurant. The building is now known locally as the “Old Nutters” – possibly a reference to the previous occupant. Possibly a reference to customers like us. It’s in one of those locations, where your normally trusted “sat nav” takes you up a farm track (and it did).
We nibbled on a poppadum or two while we looked at the menu. Nice home made chutney – zingy with a strong tamarind kick. There’s a range of menus – the carte offers pretty standard curry house offerings as does a four course “set menu” (at only £11.95). However, we both decided to go for the “fish of the day menu” – two courses for £15.
I kicked off with a prawn & spinach puri. Nice combination. Hot more than fully flavoured and absolutely nothing fusiony about it. Mrs H had what was described on the menu as a “Bangla vegetable mix” – but was nothing more than a samosa, slice of battered deep fried aubergine and one of those cheese stuffed green peppers that seem to plague cheap places in the States. This was not a good start.
Mrs H then had seabass described as “Seabass marinated with a special blends of homemade light herbs and spices, cooked with white wine and fresh cream for an exquisite fusion richness and unique taste”. Or, as Mrs H described it, a nice bit of fish that lacked either Indian flavours, Mediterranean ones or cream for that matter. And, oddly, it came sat on a portion of rigatoni. Nice naan.
I had Salmon Jalbiran. Is “jalbiran” a real word, BTW ? I expected something very tasty and very fusiony as it was described as “combined with chopped onions, peppers and green chillies added in fresh crushed garlic, stir fried to flavour with virgin olive oil and fresh whole olives, garnished with sprinkled diced coriander and spicy sauce”. What I got was a nice big piece of fish, quite well cooked but one that lacked the expected zing from Indian spicing. And, if there was coriander and olives anywhere near it, then I could not determine it. It was a dish that might have been more at home in Spain than Bangladesh.
I’d also ordered a courgette bhaji. This was a mistake. Watery and tasteless it served absolutely no purpose and was just horrible.I left most of it.
So, in summary, a couple of decent, if bland and unthrilling, mains and one decent starter. Mrs H had drunk a G & T and a pint of Becks and I’d a bottle of Hildon fizzy. Bill came to £48 plus a fiver tip. Best bit of the evening was the great view of the lights of Greater Manchester below us. And, of course, not having to drive home all the way from Preston.
John “Old Nutter” Harters