Foodies’ passage to India

ASHA’S
Birmingham
Price pp £31
Signature dish Chingri malai curry
Traditional Awadhi cuisine — kebabs, biryanis — with a Punjabi accent. The financial-district venue is owned by the Bollywood singer Asha Bhosle, who contributes recipes. Its cocktail list and lounge bar attract young professionals.

DINERS’ VERDICT
“They keep churning out fine Indian cuisine” here: “excellent”.
Address Edmund House, 12-22 Newhall Street, Birmingham B3 3LX
Phone 0121 200 2767
Web ashasuk.co.uk

BUKHARA
Samlesbury, Lancashire
Price pp £23
Signature dish Chilman biryani
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of this tandoori house that puts its ovens to inspired use: galvati (smoke-infused meat patties) and behari (marinated beef) kebabs, paneer tikka and king prawns dipped in chilli paste and sesame seeds. No alcohol is served.

DINERS’ VERDICT
With a “large choice of unusual dishes”, “booking is essential”.
Address 154 Preston New Road, Samlesbury, Preston PR5 0UP
Phone 01772 877710
Web bukharasamlesbury.co.uk

THE CINNAMON CLUB
Westminster, SW1
Price pp £40
Signature dish Clove-smoked grouse
Reopened this year after a £1m refit, this modern fine-diner overseen by TV regular Vivek Singh serves fastidiously spiced game and fish, and exquisitely perfumed puddings. The gin trolley is a welcome addition.

DINERS’ VERDICT
“Impressive” to look at, and “brilliantly spiced” (if “expensive”) cuisine.
Address The Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BU
Phone 020 7222 2555
Web cinnamonclub.com

THE INDIA CLUB
Covent Garden, WC2
Price pp £18
Signature dish Scampi pilau
A budget BYO showcase of south Indian cooking of 70 years’ standing, the India Club started life as a meeting place for civil servants and retains a time-warp charm. The menu is something of a pre-tikka masala snapshot, and the Mughlai chicken, vegetable curry and coconut chutney taste good.

DINERS’ VERDICT
Regulars like the “authenticity of the cooking”, “eternal prewar atmosphere and very fair prices”.
Address  Hotel Strand Continental, 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA
Phone 020 7836 4880
Web strand-continental.co.uk

JAYA
Llandudno, Conwy
Price pp £30
Signature dish Chilli paneer
North Indian staples share the bill with east African influences at this popular Welsh seaside restaurant, where Sunita Katoch is the executive chef. Fish pakora, tandoori prawns and lamb masala are on the menu, and there’s a B&B upstairs.

DINERS’ VERDICT
”Brilliant cooking” — and “quite outré for this part of north Wales”.
Address Space Boutique B&B, 36 Church Walks, Llandudno LL30 2HN
Phone 01492 818198
Web jayarestaurant.co.uk

KARACHI
Bradford
Price pp £14
Signature dish Chicken and spinach karahi
One of the city’s defiantly no-fuss original curry cafes, which opened late into the night to serve the Asian textile workers who had recently arrived in the city. This keenly-priced BYOB establishment offers the full gamut of curries served with roti, rice and complimentary chapatis (which make excellent substitutes for cutlery).

DINERS’ VERDICT
This “no-frills” curry house is a hit and  “incredible value for money”. Just “don’t expect smiles or knives and forks”.
Address 15-17 Neal Street, Bradford BD5 0BX
Phone 01274 732015

KAYAL
Leicester
Price pp £20
Signature dish Cheera erachi lamb curry
Specialising in “Kerala backwater cuisine” – the seafood of southwest India – Kayal’s menu packs a leftfield variation on subcontinental classics, favouring freshness and dynamic spicing over heavier ingredients. Coconut, mustard seeds, chilli, tamarind and asafoetida make regular appearances.

DINERS’ VERDICT
”Still the best curry in Leicester”, this “busy” spot is said to offer “great value for money”.
Address 153 Granby Street, Leicester LE1 6FE
Phone 0116 255 4667
Web kayalrestaurant.com

LAHORE KEBAB HOUSE
Whitechapel, E1
Price pp £16
Signature dish On-the-bone lamb curry
This Pakistani BYO grill house has something of the buzz of a school cafeteria (they even serve rice pudding), but with aromatic food that nails diners to the tables. Piquant rubs and dark crusts on spatchcocked chickens and tasty lamb chops are the order and reorder of the day. There’s another branch in Streatham.

DINERS’ VERDICT
This “frantic” spot has “incredible food at incredible prices”, although it can have the occasional “off” night.
Address 2-10 Umberston Street E1 1PY
Phone 020 7488 255
Web lahore-kebabhouse.com

LASAN
Birmingham
Price pp £42
Signature dish Elaichi beef
Helmed by the Great British Menu finalist Aktar Islam, this ambitious restaurant in the Jewellery Quarter is well-known for its experimental, pick-and-mix approach to south Asian food, producing distinctive dishes that are subtle, elegant and cheerful, if not cheap.

DINERS’ VERDICT
“Deserving much more recognition”, it “delivers way ahead of expectations”, with its “tremendous”, “fresh” cooking and “beautiful presentation”.
Address 3-4 Dakota Buildings, James Street, St Paul’s Square B3 1SD
Phone 0121 212 3664
Web lasan.co.uk

Mother India’s Cafe

Mother India’s Cafe

MOTHER INDIA’S CAFE
Glasgow
Price pp £19
Signature dish Punjabi spiced haddock
Across the road from Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, this colonial era-style restaurant (not to be confused with its sister and neighbour Mother India) blends tapas with curry. There are more than 40 keenly priced Punjabi dishes, cooked with energy and finesse — five plates should satisfy a pair of greedy diners. Be prepared to queue:it doesn’t take bookings.

DINERS’ VERDICT
“Always crowded” owing to its “interesting” and “deliciously tasty” tapas-style dishes — but avoid the “very noisy” basement.
Address 1355 Argyle Street, Glasgow G3 8AD
Phone 0141 339 9145
Web motherindia.co.uk

Donnie

I'm a fat guy in a skinny guy's body. Love food and love eating. Find me in the hottest restaurant in every country where I'll be trying the weirdest dishes and making you want to have a taste too!