Best local Indian Restaurant in Essex 2014
One of the finest Indian restaurants in Essex Caraway Indian Brasserie, in Gants Hill, has won the prestigious Best Local Indian Restaurant Award in the Restaurant Guides
The Hart Brothers
The Hart Brothers, who have made Quo Vadis and Fino into such success stories
Itâs always slightly unnerving returning to a restaurant a long time after you gave it a rave review. Will standards have slipped? Will prices have risen? Are there a couple of buttock-shaped dents in the Chefâs laurels? In Melaâs case, the answers are no, no and no.
Admittedly the interior design of colourful walls, funky paintings and bleached wood is looking a little â90sâ â hey, weâre a fickle lot, alright? â but thatâs probably got more to do with others copying the blueprint. Besides, the service, while sometimes haphazard, is still friendly, the âglass-partitioned interactive kitchenâ is as entertaining as ever and the food is still pretty bloody orgasmic.
Forget your common-or-garden kormas and your ladsâ night jalfrezis, Mela is home to a whole new world of flavours. Mutter Adrak Ki Aloo (Â£3.25), was a delicious shallow-fried patty of crushed green peas, ginger and mash. Calamari Pakhtooni (Â£4.50), Squid with Goan piri-piri soured sauce, was breathtaking for all the right reasons, the succulent squid boosted, rather than overpowered, by the spice.
Mains of Tawe ki Bathak (Â£10.25) - a ludicrously moist duck breast covered in a thick sauce of coconut, coriander and mint â and Achaari Murg Tikka (Â£8.95) â chicken tikka marinated with fennel, fenugreek and onion seeds â maintained the high standards. The same can be said of Subz Taka-Tin (Â£6.95), slow cooked vegetables, and the devastatingly simple Jeera Pulao (Â£2.25), basmati rice flavoured with cumin. Both dishes demonstrated an appreciation and understanding of the importance of simple flavours and quality ingredients. House wine â Â£12.95, I think but, as we polished off a couple of âem, I wouldnât swear to it â provided crisp refreshment.
Probably still the best Indian in London at this level.