This restaurant seems to cater mainly for Asian families. Decor is basic, with no tablecloths, a few African masks and statues, lots of sparkly lights, two plasma screens and some worrying looking electrical wiring in places, but on this Sunday night the place was packed out. The owners appear to be Gujarati, but the menu has plenty of meat dishes and some East African influences such as several varieties of mogo (cassava). Prices are very fair indeed: popadoms were 50p, starters £3.50 - £12.99 (but mostly around £4), main course curries were £5.95, naan bread £1.50, rice £1.50. A pint of Cobra beer is just £2.50, which would be hard to find in a pub, never mind a restaurant.
Popadoms were fried to order and were good and crisp, served with home-made chutneys: a thin but spicy tomato chutney, and a thick spicy mint chutney (13/20). Fish tikka was excellent, chunks of tilapia marinated then cooked in the tandoor, served on an iron skillet with fried onions (13/20). Vegetable samosas were pleasant enough, with thin crispy coating but the filling was a little dull (11/20). However I was delighted to find patra, a very rare dish on restaurant menus. This Gujarati dish involves Indian vine leaves filled with a spices and gramflour, set in layers, steamed then sliced and fried. The version here was the best I have eaten, avoiding the over-dryness that can afflict this dish; here the patra was tasty and moist with good texture (15/20).
My main course methi chicken was rather ordinary, the meat seemingly very cheap, though correctly cooked, and the sauce tasting of fenugreek but used too much ghee for my liking (11/20). A bhindi masala was better, the bhindi cooked a little longer than ideal but by no means mushy, the onion-based masala having plenty of spicy flavour (13/20). Chana masala had reasonably tender chickpeas but a rather watery sauce (11/20) while mattur paneer was rather dull (11/20). Naan bread was very good (13/20) and rice was also nicely cooked, the grains clearly delineated (13/20)
The bill for what turned out to be a mountain of food was just £24 for two, and there was enough left over for another complete meal. Service was friendly and efficient, and the closely packed tables lend to a relaxed, informal cafe atmosphere. This is authentic cooking which at times was very good indeed.