The Brilliant has become a Southall institution, established in 1975 by Gulu Anand, who still runs the restaurant with his daughter Dipna. The dining room has expanded over the years, and there is a large upstairs function room that can seat 120 people. The restaurant serves Punjabi cuisine with a few family recipe additions from their time spent in Kenya, before they emigrated to the UK.
Tandoori lamb chops were very good, being marinated in spices before cooking in the tandoor, the lamb tender (14/20). Murgh tikka malai is similarly marinated, in this case with some cheese as well as spices in order to soften the meat, and was also very tender, with the meat having nicely absorbed the spices (14/20). Aloo tikki is a potato pattie with chickpeas, yoghurt, tamarind chutney and spices, the sweetness of the tamarind an excellent pairing for the vegetables (14/20).
Methi chicken is an old favourite of mine, the chicken resting in a rich sauce with deep fenugreek flavour (14/20). Masala prawns were also very enjoyable (13/20). Channa masala featured tender chickpeas and nicely balanced spices (14/20). Naan bread is good here, and I particularly like the romali roti, where the dough is rolled into a very thin disc, tossed in the air and then folded up on a hot steel hemisphere (14/20).
We tried three desserts. Rasmalai, made from cottage cheese and sugar syrup was very enjoyable, not too sweet as it can be (13/20). The texture of the kulfi malai was not quite right tonight, perhaps due to it being not given enough time out of the freezer, so there was a watery aspect that is not usually the case here - I have tried this dessert many times in the past and it is normally good (11/20). Better was gulab jaman, lovely balls of sugary milky goodness, deep fried and glistening with sugar syrup. Best not to think of the calories, but just savour the flavour (14/20).
Service is always very slick here, with very well-trained staff. The bill tonight, for three courses with wine and beer, came to just £40 a head including service, an absolute bargain when you compare it to central London. Long may the Brilliant shine on.Book