Miah’s Garden of GulabBy Phil Creighton
November 20, 2008
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but geese are getting fat. That can only mean one thing: December 25 is looming large on the horizon.
Thankfully, among all the stressful present buying, card writing and endurance tests with the relatives, there are some things to look forward to. Carol concerts, lights, the telly and, of course, Christmas parties.
While your office do might be taking place around the photocopier (unplug it at the wall first), you might be eyeing up a quiet meal with friends to mark the festive season.
Many restaurants realise this: offering special Christmas menus including everything from turkey with all the trimmings to turkey with all the trimmings.
If you want something different, but still offering great value for money, why not head to one of Miah’s four restaurants? Its five-course Christmas meal weighs in at an impressive £19.95.
Like any one wanting to find their presents early, we got a sneak preview of the menu. Thankfully, it wasn’t hidden at the back of the wardrobe, but on full display in The Garden of Gulab on Wokingham Road.
We could just as easily have gone to Saffron on Whitley Street, or visited its Pangbourne and Spencer’s Wood branches.
A five-course meal means pacing yourself – especially in Miah’s, which has to be one of my favourite places in Reading to get a curry.
It promises heavenly Indian cuisine, making dishes that are as healthy as possible and using hand-made spices.
While you can eschew the Christmas menu and go for its traditional dishes, including tikka masala, korma and the vindaloos, you’d have to be a grinch to ignore its contemporary menu.
Thankfully the Christmas menu focuses on this modern taste of India.
The festive five courses begin with an appetiser: choose from baharee sall, a potato-filled bread with roasted dry fish, or a panir shahlik – Indian cheese presented on skewers.
There are five starters to choose from for the second course, including our favourite, mumta-e-zameen, a vegetarian dish made from spinach and channa daal, including cheese, paneer and khoya. We’ve had this on every occasion we’ve visited Miah’s and our only regret is that it’s a starter and not a main.
I enjoyed the eadul gustawa, a lamb piccatta with a coriander sauce, another favourite. The light and fresh citrus taste that seems to be a signature of Miah’s cuisine is present here.
Then it’s on to the mains. Seven to choose from, all served with naan breads, vegetable side dishes and rice, adding even more value to your table.
The bangla murgh shatkora had a pleasantly spicy taste, with a citrus aftertaste making it a delicious choice. Although there are no vegetarian mains, Miah’s will be happy to adapt dishes to suit.
The next two courses are liquid based: just as well, if you have any room left over after those three courses for pudding you deserve an extra present from Santa.
You can choose from either a Baileys or a brandy, which will be served in Miah’s signature glasses, gently warmed by a tealight underneath. The vapours in the glass are terrific and I love being able to indulge in one.
Finally, it’s coffee or bayleaf tea with chocolates. We normally plump for coffee, but Jamshed, the owner, wanted to let us taste his new tea. It was delicate and light, and a bit of a revelation for us. I must have enjoyed five or six cups.
The Christmas menu is terrific value. The only problem is that it will make your waistline more like Santa’s.
Thank goodness for New Year’s resolutions.
- Telephone: (0118) 966 7979
- Website: www.miahs.co.uk