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
37 Crutched Friars, EC3
020 7702 9739
Restaurants with an EC postcode come and go like government pledges. Iâve lost track of how many evening visits Iâve taken to sparsely occupied City eateries where some bewildered staff member tells me âitâs really buzzing at lunchtimesâ. Havenât they noticed that your average City bloke (and the City is still very blokey) goes home to his geographically-extended family of an evening?
In fairness though, if any restaurant is going to do well in the City outside of lunchtimes, it will probably be one like Red Rose. Firstly, itâs an Indian, and if anything is going to tempt workers to opt for the last train after a few too many after-work drinks, itâll be a curry. Secondly, although the place is surprisingly grand Â with a man dedicated to taking your coat and a girl to shepherd you safely up the stairs Â prices are very reasonable with starters from Â£3 and mains from Â£6.25.
âItâs really buzzing at lunchtimes,â (or words to that effect) said the waiter as we joined three other diners (one couple and a lone man with a fork in one hand and a book in the other) in the pleasant and spacious 150-cover dining room. Although there are a few modern touches the menu is generally traditional with familiar dishes there in abundance. For starters we ordered lobster khumb and heena-e-seekh. The former was flakes of lobster meat cooked with mushrooms, garlic and wine. It was a delicious combination but would have benefited from a little more lobster and a little less mushroom. The latter, a succulent and spicy North Indian kebab, could not have been better.
For mains we opted for tried and trusted old friends: chicken jalfrezi and lamb rogan. The jalfrezi (with green chillies, onions and peppers) was very good and involved an intriguing mix of spices. The rogan was not so successful. Judging by the taste, I suspect the pieces of meat started life as a tandoori dish. It tasted fine, and if it had been called something else (tandoori rogan perhaps), I might have enjoyed it more. But sorry, it just wasnât like any rogan Iâve ever had Â and Iâve had a few.
Side dishes of baby aubergines (cooked with caraway seeds and garlic) and rajma (potatoes and red kidney beans) were both good, with the rajma in particular deserving high praise.
The food was admirably accompanied by a bottle of Pinot Grigio.
Average price per head without drinks: Â£25