Restaurant review: Miah's Garden of GulabBy Alan Bunce
May 03, 2012
Jamshed Miah opened his first restaurant six months before his 17th birthday.
Now, 30-odd years on, Miah’s Garden of Gulab has evolved as an established Reading brand, owned and run by someone with a lifetime’s experience.
And that experience is itself a remarkable tale.
Jamshed emigrated to England as a toddler and was helping at his parents’ restaurant in Coventry by the age of 11.
As a young teenager he helped remodel his uncle’s restaurant in Maidenhead, making it more successful than either he, his uncle or their bank manager could have dreamed.
The bank manager kept the ambitious youth in mind when he spotted an empty property in Wokingham Road.
The rest is an impressive history, and Garden of Gulab, now one of five restaurants – four Indian and one British – Jamshed owns around town, continues to thrive.
A typical mix of customers set the scene when we went along; a birthday party at one end, several groups and couples, and a table for two by the window to review the food.
Rather than choose a starter from the menu, I simply asked for something light, made with vegetables, while my accomplice went for a mixed platter of onion bhaji, sheekh kebabs and chicken tikka.
The platter was the first sign that this menu had a touch of the fine dining experience about it.
It was substantial for a starter, laid diagonally along a square plate, offering a range of tastes and flavours. ‘Lovely’ was the verdict.
Mine was three vegetable bhajis neatly decorated and lying on a superb sauce. This would make an acceptable main course.
It was bursting with flavour yet was essentially a vegetarian dish I would usually have passed by.
The expertise of the staff is evidently to be relied upon.
Keeping to the theme of not going for the obvious, I varied from my usual curry and opted for a main course of keema aloo chana (minced lamb with spices, chickpeas and potatoes) while opposite, the choice was murgh khushee (baby chicken breast filled with onions and mozzarella in a mild sauce).
Two meals at an Indian restaurant and neither was a curry.
However, both were remarkably good.
My keema aloo chana, aided by a speciality rice, was strong on flavour but remained mild on the palate.
Murgh khushee meanwhile was enjoyed by someone who thought she had tried every kind of chicken dish, but raved about the quality of this one.
Jamshed has been back to India, helping shape his future dishes, and his menu reflects the fact that this is not a curry house but somewhere looking to stay at the forefront of innovation, tempting the customer with ever new experiences.
The Food Standards Agency recently gave it a five star rating. Thirty years experience is certainly paying off.
- Telephone: 0118 9667979
- Website: www.miahs.co.uk
- Address: Miah's Garden of Gulab
130-134 Wokingham Road
Reading, RG6 1JL