Annapurna is a Chiswick High Road institution, having run continuously since its opening in 1970. Not many restaurants last over five decades, and doubtless the excellent location on the busy high road helps. The menu is standard north Indian fare and does not change over time in any visible fashion.
Onion bhajia was actually quite nice, neatly avoiding the twin perils of dryness and greasiness, and ending up nicely between these two extremes (12/20). Tandoori prawns arrived on a sizzling iron plate, but sadly were rather overcooked, which was a shame (10/20).
Chicken tikka biryani was harmless enough, the chicken rather dry and the rice lacking much in the way of spicy aroma (11/20). Bhindi avoided sliminess and was decent enough, though I have certainly had better versions of this dish (12/20). A cauliflower side dish retained the vegetable texture quite well, though the spicing was rather too subtle and one-dimensional (11/20). Channa masala was decent enough, the chickpeas tender and perhaps even cooked a little too long to my taste (11/20). Naan bread was quite good, light and fluffy and hot from the oven (12/20). We did not have dessert tonight.
Service was friendly with plenty of waiters to attend to the diners. The bill came to £50 a head with beer to drink, which was not in itself excessive, though objectively the value for money factor is quite moderate since the level of food is decent but not exceptional. Nearby Republic is better, and it is not far to travel from here to a much higher level restaurant Black Salt. Nonetheless, the remarkably longevity of Annapurna means that they have clearly found a niche amongst the locals. I live nearby and pop in from time to time, though in my heart I know that the Indian dining scene has evolved. However, as an old-fashioned local neighbourhood Indian restaurant Annapurna does a perfectly decent job.