This month’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak‘s face looks rather familiar to us (assuming he is still in the role at the time of publication). Wasn’t he the geezer who exhorted us to ‘Eat Out to Help Out‘ during the summer of coronavirus? At his urging, after months of quaking fearfully behind closed doors, the populus took tentative steps back to the nation’s pubs and restaurants to shovel in scotch eggs and whatnot, ordered from a sanitised and visored human, or via a pesky QR code.
We kept away from the mad rush, preferring to continue to explore the plethora of takeaway options the Island’s creative chefs drummed up in their domestic kitchens (and because we couldn’t get a booking anywhere for love nor money). But, once the vaccine programme and the trumpeted merits of herd immunity made eating in (or is it out?) moderately safe again, we were back out there, baby.
And it’s understandable why. Despite the reported collapse of mainland high streets, the Island’s towns have seen many new venues open since COVID-19 raised its ugly head. Plenty of fresh places for us to exercise our writing chops on – and our actual chops. Maybe even some bona fide chops. Whatevs.
So, despite our wealth of takeaway reviews during the pandemic, we apologise for neglecting the home dining market over the last year or so. We’ve simply been enjoying the pleasures of letting someone else do the heavy lifting in the kitchen – especially the washing up!
However, not everyone is inclined to put their knees under someone else’s table; we have been asked to review a few more takeaways. Don’t say we don’t listen, Colin of Sandown.
Taste of India has been a fixture on the tiny but significant East Cowes leisure strip for years now. And it’s easy to see why. We picked up a decent takeaway and, despite there being three of us, had plenty to go round the next day. In fact, we exclaimed as we unpacked the dinner, that the portions were “ridiculously huge”.
Poppadum 3 @ 80p £2.40
Chicken korma £8.50
Vegetable dansak £8.95
Vegetable madras £7.95
Mushroom bhajee £3.55
Mushroom rice £3.50
Garlic naan £3.50
To be fair, the menu was a little sparser than other venues; four side dishes – and two of those contained potatoes. Maybe they have kept to the simplified list, or perhaps those available are the most popular choices, so why complicate matters with obscure curries nobody orders anyway?
Nothing wrong with streamlining operations, but it did mean that the non-meat eaters in the party had a pretty small range from which to choose and not much in the way of protein-based ingredients. It would have been nice to have, say, a paneer option. Nonetheless, the vegetable dansak was really well-flavoured and had a good consistency; decently lentilly with an agreeable balance of pulses and vegetables. Moderately-spiced, with a pleasing sweet and sour flavour.
Cat’s chicken korma was the standard fare; yellow, runny, slightly coconutty. Happily the accompanying mushroom rice made it a bit more exciting, plus a mushroom side dish. A bit samey perhaps, but her usual side choice of cauliflower bhaji was not on the list.
From the limited veggie selection, we also chose vegetable madras, which was hotter than anticipated. The heat came from the spices, which gave the curry that initial oomph.
Like the Laurel and Hardy of Indian flatbreads, the poppadums remained suitably thin and crispy, and the garlic naan floppy and doughy, as both should be. A special mention goes to the mango chutney with tamarind – nice touch.
Yes, we are guilty of having our heads turned by the new kids on the block, but the established places – like Taste of India – continue to produce decent suppers for the home market. And, of course, you can still eat in there too. Pop (padum) alo(o)ng.
This is the full-length version of the review first published in the Isle of Wight County Press.