The menu is vast, but is disappointingly not as ‘Bengali’ as I had hoped, however there is plenty to suit all tastes from the softer coconut-laden Keralan specialties of Southern India to the more robust dishes of the North. I admittedly played it safe to begin with opting for a ‘Clipper Treat’ which is a selection of Tandoor cooked meats, including duck, chicken, diced lamb, fish and lamb mince kebabs, which although pleasant enough, were not overly impressive. Some meats were more tender than others, but I think it was my companion’s starter choice that was more of a let down. Curiously named ‘Mushroom Lollipops’ – the name alone being enough to put me off really – and at first sight were as far removed from their comically-named descriptive as they could possibly hope to be. Three bulbous, deep-fried, paneer-stuffed button mushrooms, with very little flavour, did nothing to excite my palate I’m afraid. I was left confused as to the ‘Lollipop’ reference as I was expecting to see a lolly stick with a mushroom on the end of it. Personally I hate it when food is given funny little names, if something is truly good, then there is no need to give it a cutesy label.
I began by trying the ‘Chefs Special’ chicken curry, which looks suspiciously neon in colour and although not lacking in flavour by any means, is like a spicier version of chicken tikka masala, yet with that familiar, almost ketchuppy, after-taste. The chicken breast was cut into thin strips, making it more chewy than tender. Not bad overall, but not something I would necessarily feel compelled to order in the future. My Sathkari Gosht looks enticing and my first mouthful is of tender lamb with a fiercely bitter lime after-taste, than was a tad too intense and just overpowered the other components of the dish. However the aubergine dish was very nice, not overly spiced and a great accompaniment to the meal. The Dal Tarka, whilst rich, creamy and brimming with well spiced black lentils, had an unappetising ‘film’ on the surface which reminded me of school-dinner style rice pudding.
Although the staff were attentive and friendly enough and drinks were served at the speed of light, food service was quite slow. I wouldn’t say it was a bad meal and should I ever be in the locality craving spicy food, I would probably stop by again, although perhaps choose a little more carefully this time.