Kofta smofta

Clifton, London, E14

It’s a famous name but sadly this attractive looking restaurant just outside Canary Wharf rarely seems to have more than a handful of people in it. The times when it does have customers it’s rammed to the brim for parties and this appears to be how it thrives.

The original Clifton Café opened in the 1950s in Brick Lane and became famous for continuing to serve authentic curries as others around it pandered to the tastes of Western palates. Its current incarnation opened nearby in 2005. The E14 branch is large, and together with its sister shop next door, which sells everything a curry lover wants, creates a significant Clifton footprint in the Westferry Road.

The two restaurants continue to fly the flag of authenticity so it seemed the decent thing to order one of the regional specialities of Bangladesh. The Tetul Tanga Bujon (£7.95) promised koftas in a sweet and sour sauce and I went for the chicken version on the waiter’s recommendation. It was the most sweet sour sauce I have ever had in an Indian restaurant that’s for sure and pretty tasty. But where were the koftas? The chicken was nice enough but they were chunks not meatballs.

“That’s the way we do that dish,” I was told with a smile. “But it’s cooked in kofta sauce.” Kofta sauce? Authentic I hope.

The starters were served on round thali trays, which was a nice touch. The Cauliflower Pakora (£2.25) came with salad and sauces, as did the Lamb Chops (£4.95). Oh, the Lamb Chops. Huge, beautifully spiced and tender lamb, with edges slightly charred in the tandoor.

Clifton, 32 Westferry Road, London E14 8LW. Tel: 020 7987 0600 or 020 7001 2999. E-mail: info@cliftonrestaurant.co.uk

Scores on the tandoors

Food 6.5

Decor 8

Service and friendliness 8.5

Atmosphere 6 (Monday evening)

Value 7

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