Royal Tandoori Restaurant, ReadingBy Tom Fahey
November 04, 2009
You can walk into any curry house in the UK and find the same dishes cooked in the same way at the same prices.
OK, there might be a bit more or less oil floating on your bhuna, but generally there’s not much difference.
There are now two newish Indian restaurants in Reading serving regional Indian cuisine.
Great for ex-pats or the adventurous but liable to confuse anyone who’s ordered the same chicken jalfrezi for the last eight years.
Dosa? Gulub Jamin? Halwa? Kulcha bread? Steamed rice cakes? Black lentils?
No thanks, mate, I’ll have a pint of Cobra and a Vindaloo.
The Royal Tandoori in Reading’s town centre mixes traditional with regional.
I took a couple of workmates along to see if I could wean them off their usual chicken tikka masala.
Having never been one for red velvet chairs and carpets, religious artwork or carvings and bangra muzac, I actually like the fact that the décor here is more like a bistro than an Indian restaurant.
About 70 per cent of the menu will be familiar. If you are interested in regional Indian food – most of which will be unfamiliar – there’s a separate menu that you need to ask for.
There’s also a lunch deal costing £6.95 for starter, curry, rice and bread.
From the regional menu, I tried idli (£5.50) – rice noodle pancakes accompanied by lamb curry which contains whole spices and curry leaves and had a fantastic depth of flavour.
Batata wada (£3.50) were little fritters of potato mixed with ginger, coriander and garlic then deep fried in chick pea batter. Crisp on the outside, soft and light in the middle, we would all have ordered them again.
Malai chicken tikka (£6.75) was a welcome change – much greener and fresher than the usual orange/red style.
The star of the show was the Royal Special Dosa; a part-crisp, part-soft pancake halfway between a poppadom and a chapatti, stuffed with tandoori chicken and accompanied by vegetable curry and a refreshing coconut chutney. It was absolutely massive – a meal in itself – but cost just £7.50.
We also tried two curries you’ll be familiar with – chicken jalfrezi and korai (both £6.95) – which had no oily coating, were reasonably spicy and contained decent chicken breast meat. Keema naan was also very good and managed to avoid resembling a doner kebab.
The Royal Tandoori is an excellent place to try something new and you should seek out the regional menu for its huge dosas.
At the same time, those who are less adventurous will know exactly where they are with all the usual curry house favourites made to a high standard.
- Website: www.royaltandoorireading.co.uk
- Address: Duke Street,