The Curry Leaf Indian Restaurant, WargraveBy Phil Creighton
June 17, 2009
It's not every day that you receive a meal cooked by a presidential chef. Well, not unless you live in Wargrave.
The village is now home to the new Curry Leaf restaurant which opened earlier this month.
Beautifully decorated, with a light colour scheme, a gorgeous marbled bar, carefully chosen pictures and immaculate napery, first impressions are incredibly positive.
The menu continues the classy theme. Rather than having as many dishes as possible crammed into a small space, it leisurely reveals itself over several pages. Top marks for having a page dedicated to veggie dishes. This list comes on top of the many other vegetarian choices that are scattered throughout the menu.
It also contains many dishes that I’ve not seen elsewhere. Again something to shout about.
And The Curry Leaf’s feather in its cap is having a head chef who used to cook up a treat for a former Indian president,
Dr Abdul Kalam. Despite this pedigree, dishes on the menu are incredibly reasonable costing around the £8 mark for main courses.
We eschewed the poppadoms to go straight for some starters. Judith enjoyed the paneer tikka (£3.75), tandoori-cooked Indian cheese marinated overnight with medium spices and yoghurt. Although a little spicier than she would have liked, she said that she could easily have enjoyed it as a main course.
My starter was a chana puri (£3.45), spiced chick peas served on a light wholemeal puri bread. Anything chana tends to be a hit with me, and this was the case tonight. The puri bread was new to me and it was light as described. This dish too could also have been a main course quite happily.
Both servings were incredibly generous, offering terrific value for money and filling us up so much that we barely made a dent in our mains.
These came from The Curry Leaf’s specialities menu, dishes that represent a different area of India. Judith chose a vegetable Kozambhu (£6.25), a mild and creamy dish that represented South India.
Packed with freshly cooked al dente vegetables, this dish was thoroughly enjoyed, although there was perhaps a little too much cream masking some of the subtle spicing.
My main was the chicken Achari (£7.95), an excellent medium hot curry representing north India. My knife cut through the chicken as if it were butter and the spicy taste built up with each mouthful. It was a satisfying experience, although there was a little too much ghee used.
For a side dish, we requested a beghan sag (£3.75) – aubergine and spinach fused together for an unusual accompaniment. We also enjoyed one of the lightest naans I’ve ever tasted (£2.50) – you simply must try one – and lemon rice (£2.75) which made a refreshing change from the norm.
We could have then enjoyed desserts or coffee, but we were so full that we stopped at a point that made it look as if we didn’t enjoy our meals. This was not the case, leftovers were taken home and eagerly devoured the following evening.
There are a variety of set menus on offer, ranging from £14.95 to £19.95 per person – although there’s a minimum number of diners (two or four) for these choices.
House wine costs from £11.45 a bottle or £3.75 a glass, champagne is available too.
It’s a brilliant place, with friendly staff and a packed menu. Worth a visit.
- Telephone: (0118) 940 6640
- Website: www.curryleafwargrave.com
- Address: 60-60a High Street