Monsoon, Dublin, Ireland
After copious amounts of Guinness on St Patrick’s Day (yes, I did see the parade – it was on the TV), it seemed only fitting to wrap up the early part of the day with a curry.
There might have been something fittingly green on the menu but one look at the prices (Prawn Chilli Masala €18.95, Kadhai Gosht €16.95) had us quickly flicking to the Early Bird Special (starter, main, rice or nan and bottle of beer for €20, served 5.30pm-7.30pm). It’s a reduced menu, but amid talk of Cheltenham Racing (‘You must have had a bit on that one to be sure’ etc) from neighbouring tables it was still enough for us to share the most perfectly cooked Chicken Tikka and Fish Tikka, plus a traditional Rogan Josh (oven-cooked with whole cumin, cassia and cloves), a creamy Goan prawn curry and a Chicken Makhani.
Tim’s big on Chicken Makhani (although insists calling every incarnation of it he ever eats Chicken Balti Tikka Masala) but reckons the Rogan Josh was ‘just like a stew your mum would cook up’.
Mmm, I reckon he’s missing the great taste of those whole spices and that deep, rich sauce. I must admit I love the modern version of the Rogan dish (Lamb or Chicken) that uses lots of tomatoes but lately I’ve been searching out the traditional Mughal version, which is getting more common as people increasing seek out ‘authentic’ Indian dishes instead of the Anglo-Indian inventions most of us grew up with.
I think the ‘authentic’ argument is a silly one anyway (isn’t there a place for all variations of this great food?) but I’ve admiration for an authentic Rogan Josh mainly because I tried to cook it once and failed badly. A stew indeed Mr Chicken Balti Tikka Masala.
• Monsoon, 306-8 Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin, 06, Ireland. Tel: +353 1 491-1666. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Open: Mon-Thur 5pm-11.30pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-midnight, Sun 12.30pm-4pm (buffet), and 5pm-11pm.
Food ① ② ③
Decor ① ② ③
Value ① ② ③
Atmosphere (Wednesday night, St Patrick’s Day) ① ②
Service and friendliness ① ② ③ ④