Matt and Cat enjoy a good takeway curry. That’s not to say that they don’t like to eat in too: sitting in glory under some recessed lighting and playing with the chutneys can be the start of a really good evening. But sometimes only a takeout will do, and their top choice for this has traditionally been Balti King in Wootton because of its excellent food and proximity to home. However, if they have a criticism of the place it’s the fact that it is closed on Mondays – albeit for a well earned rest.
So, what to do when the curry-munchies overwhelm on a Monday evening? Find a suitable alternative, that’s what. Eager to try somewhere un-reviewed Matt and Cat stopped off in Lake High Street, which offers takeaway food from all continents. Representing the subcontinent is the Shahanaz, a modest-looking restaurant and takeaway.
Matt and Cat found a convenient large car park behind the parade of shops, and, strolling round to the Shahanaz wandered through the door. Immediately a smiling member of staff came forward and welcomed them in, showed them the menu and explained a bit more about what the dishes were. Matt chose a garlic balti tikka, which came with rice included for £8.95, and Cat chicken passander – rice was for some reason extra for that, making it a comparable £9.05. Pushing the boat out they picked a mushroom bhaji side dish to share, and when the bill was totted up they were pleased to discover that there was a 10% discount for takeways when collected.
Settling to wait on the slightly spartan bench provided, Matt and Cat found a moment’s distraction in some magazines which might have been passed down from a local dentist’s waiting room as too old. They then had a look around the surroundings – this small shop, as well as a takeaway, also provided a sit-down restaurant area in a comfortingly traditional style, with thick carpets and sparkly chandeliers. No laminate floors here.
Before very long the meal arrived, along with the pleasant surprise of some complimentary poppadums. Aware of the longish drive home, your reviewers wasted no time in whisking their supper away. They need not have worried. Well packed, when they served it out the meal was still very hot. Furthermore, it was delicious. Cat’s passander was tasty and enjoyable, the creaminess of the sauce tempered with lemon. Cat noted that the chicken pieces, though numerous, were smaller than those from the Balti King.
Matt’s garlic chicken balti was a really impressive dish. Not often seen on a menu, this creation really delivered what it promised; with plenty of sliced garlic giving the meat a generous, sweet flavour without a hint of the bitterness or acrid taste of over or under cooked garlic. Topped with fresh coriander, the balti was also infused with a fresh, lemony taste that dispelled any danger of over-richness. Really very good indeed. The mushroom bhaji was similarly commendable, with freshly-cooked mushrooms and chopped herbs giving the highly-flavoured side dish a really good texture that complemented the main dishes well.
An unassuming establishment which really shines in delivering excellent service and top-quality food. Matt and Cat give the Shahanaz a strong recommendation.