I grew up with authentic Indian food thanks to my Mum's third husband being Indian - and I love the rich flavours and pore-opening intensity of a robust curry. Having read about this place online and driving past it, nestled at the bottom of Shooters Hill, I was keen to give it a try.
I was a little disappointed when I rang to book and was informed it had moved premises - but accepted the 15 minute drive as worth it for a chance of a decent meal. Finding the new place we were a little disappointed as from the outside it didn't look anything special.
Once seated we nervously wondered if we hadn't perhaps wasted our time. The clean modern interior is a little bland, but is inoffensive and I guess let's the food speak for itself. The young ladies serving were a little sullen and although attentive didn't make us feel at all welcome.
The hosts were quite the opposite and fawned over us and the other customers to the point it was almost uncomfortable. They meant well and their passion for the food they produce was evident, however it was a little over the top and some of the food talk pretentious.
The menu offered both traditional and specialty options, but what intrigued us was their own creations and reinventions of some classic dishes.
Ordering a number of their own creations we were not disappointed and the food lived up to the hype. Both my starter and main were delicious and were original dishes that were well balanced in both flavour and spice. My main a fiery spinach dish was huge and I ended up taking half of it home.
My Partner is not a fan of spicy food and normally opts for a mild korma or chicken tikka. Our flamboyant host however had other ideas and took the time to ask about his likes and suggested an unusual sounding chicken dish cooked in a banana sauce. Convinced by the impassioned recommendation he decided with a little hesitation to follow the advice.
When his meal arrived the host advised that they had further changed the dish to incorporate other flavours which he felt he would enjoy - with the addition of lychees and pineapple. It wasn't to my taste, but that was the point - it was tailored to my Partners taste and he loved it. This level of service and attention to the customers palate and enjoyment was simply astounding.
There is no doubt that these guys really know their food and it really was the best Indian food I have eaten in the UK. I like that they offer the traditional dishes, but are brave enough to create new flavour combinations with a modern twist.
My only advice to the hosts would be to stay passionate, but perhaps trust the quality of the food to speak for itself and allow the customer to enjoy the journey of discovery.
We took home leftovers including the freshest and most delicious naan I have eaten since my Aunts used to cook for us. Smeared with butter and a few minutes under the grill and they made a delightful breakfast.
I hope to visit again soon and look forward to exploring the menu further.
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