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|Address:||54 Lordship Lane, London SE22 8HJ|
|Tel:||020 8693 3012|
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If you can judge a curry house on the strength of its pickle tray, then all is well at Dulwich Tandoori. With milky, soothing raita and even ‘the Evil One’ – that being lime pickle – showing balanced flavour, it’s a pleasure to tuck in.
There’s plenty more to like. Arrive bereft of a booking and you can enjoy a half-price drink as you wait at the affiliated bar next door, before being chaperoned to the next available table. In our experience, the service is uniformly enthusiastic and good-natured. And alongside the usual suspects, you’ll find regional specials like Shatkora chicken; an intriguing recipe featuring a Bangladeshi citrus fruit akin to candied pomelo or preserved lemon. While it’s not particularly pleasant to gnaw on large hunks of the fragrant peel, the distinctive sweet-sharpness infuses the dish with a freshness that counteracts even the most cloying of kormas or butter chickens. Plus, the menu seems reassuringly low on sinister and luridly-coloured dishes that throb with an alien luminescence, and the saag paneer is delicious. They’ve gone a bit leftfield with the website, and lifestyle photography that leads you to believe you’ll be dining in a nightclub when it’s just a solid neighbourhood restaurant.
I suppose the elephant in the room would be the meat. Nowhere does the website allude to happy chickens or lambs prancing in grassy liberation, which concerns me. Equally, I’ve not wanted to be the joyless diner that grills the waiters, thumps down the menu and makes a charge for the door if the response to my probing isn’t as quaint as I’d hope. My fretting may be entirely unfounded; the grub is good and the atmosphere is jolly. But ethical consumers may want to ask the question I’m reluctant to, and I’d be (tenatively) interested to learn the answer.