Nu Delhi Lounge (Belfast)

Nu Delhi Lounge, Belfast

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From top left: Chicken Chilli Garlic, Punjabi Lamb Masala, Garlic Nan, Mushroom Rice.

 

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Tandoori King Prawn.

Where is this restaurant then?
It’s right in the heart of Belfast.

Isn’t that the place responsible for sinking the Titanic?
Well, not exactly, that was an iceberg, but this is where they built the ship. At the famous Harland and Wolff shipyard.

Shouldn’t that be infamous, considering the Titanic sank on its first trip?
Yes, the city does have a strange attraction to this sinking ship; there is even a Titanic Quarter in the city, although I think that’s the tourist office at work.

Did the prices at Nu Delhi sink you?
Very good. Yes, they were maybe a notch about the average for an Indian (or Punjabi, as the venue says) but certainly not too outrageous. The bill came to just over £55 for a shared starter, two mains, rice, nan and drinks.

I like a drink. What did you have?
A mango lassi and pint of draught Asahi.

Isn’t that Japanese?
You’re right. I was a little surprised because it’s the first time I’ve come across it on draught in an Indian restaurant, but it is clean and sharp and pairs very well with spicy food.

Make sense. It would be nice to have it at the bar before the meal.
It would indeed, especially as it’s such an attractive bar, with the red and white strip lighting and hanging globes adding a touch of Bollywood glitz. The decor overall is smart and modern, with dark wood tables, lots of reeds in pots and back-lit wall panels.

I suppose I should ask about the food?
About time, that’s what we there for, after all. The prawns in the Tandoori King Prawn starter really deserve the title of king because they were plump and deliciously spiced. No extra sauce needed there. The Chicken Chilli Garlic is certainly one for the garlic lovers and on reflection the Garlic Nan was a clove too far for the table. The nan itself was top notch and some of the freshest I’ve enjoyed outside of India. I was a bit surprised that the chicken came in a reddish, creamy sauce, not something I’ve come across with this dish before, but it worked well. What I really liked was that the texture of the other main, the Punjabi Lamb Masala, was different, as the chef used chopped rather than pureed onions. Too many restaurants use a one-fits-all sauce, so all the curries end up a bit samey.

Is that a word?
Probably not, but you know what I mean. Lots of restaurants have a big, long menu but when the curries come out they look and taste the same. Certainly not the case here.

Sounds as if you like Nu Delhi then?
I do indeed. It’s smart but you don’t feel as if you are on parade and it’s a lot better than your average High Street curry house but doesn’t whack the pocket for your pleasure.

What’s the damage?
Drinks: Asahi £4.75, Mango Lassi £3.50
Starter: King Prawn Tandoori £9.95
Mains: Chicken Chilli Garlicn £12.95, Punjabi Lamb Masala £12.95
Rice: Mushroom Rice £2.70
Nan: Garlic Nan £2.60

Nu Delhi Lounge, 25 Bruce Street, Belfast. Tel: +44 28 90244 747. Info@nudelhilounge.co.uk. Open Mon to Fri, noon–2pm and 5pm–11pm, Sat to Sun 5pm–11pm.

Mongoose outlets

After stumbling across the new Mongoose beer (see review on October 15, 2010) in Cambridge, Wells & Young’s has sent a list of outlets that sell the beer in southeast and east London. This list includes two of the GCC’s favourites, the Moghul Tandoori (see review January 8, 2010 and February 17, 2010) and Memsaheb on Thames (see review on October 15, 2010) as well as the excellent Mala in St Katherine’s Dock. Time to try a beer methinks…

  • Mogul Tandoori, Greenwich, SE10 9BJ
  • Shard Indian Restaurant, Southwark, SE1 2TH
  • Coriander Restaurant, Kennington, SE11 5HY
  • Surma Curry House, East Dulwich, SE22 8HY
  • Memsaheb on Thames, E14 SUU
  • Bhangra Beat, South Woodford, E18 1NG
  • Mala, St Katherine’s Dock, E1W 1UH

New Indian beers

Three cheers to anyone who produces beer that’s what I say. And an extra cheer to anyone who produces beer to go with Indian food. So cheer, cheer, cheer, cheer to the newest addition of ‘Indian’ beers in the UK – Mongoose.

It’s been out a while now but I’ve only just managed to find a pint of it.

Wells & Young’s (who used to make Cobra) launched the beer earlier this year to take on Cobra and Kingfisher in the Indian beer market. It won’t be lost on you that the mongoose and the cobra are well-known fighters. Cheeky name indeed.

A lager, Mongoose has got  a much smoother taste than its super crisp competitors so the beer will go particularly well with creamy dishes like Korma, Pasanda and, of course, the old favourite Chicken Tikka Masala.

Meanwhile, another new beer, Monsoon, brewed in Christchurch, New Zealand, is also set to enter the same market, the excellent Curry Council in Manchester reports.

We don’t serve beer sir

Simply Indian, Aldershot

“Four papadams and two beers please.”

You know the score every time you enter a curry house. The poor waiter has hardly got time to say hello and the standard order is out of the mouths of most of us. So I’ve always admired places that don’t serve alcohol (usually because of their Muslim faith) proving that their food can conquer all. Simply Indian is one such place, “because we prefer to concentrate on the food, which is what we do best,” I am told.

You’re allowed to bring your own booze, and handily there’s a shop just a few steps away, but true to their word, food is what they do best.

Sometimes the confidence in someone’s voice is enough to convince us of anything, but this time the manager’s sureness of his food’s quality was true to form not bull. This unassuming place, near Aldershot station, and with a sort of smart canteen feel to it, serves seriously decent food.

From tandoori starters (Tandoori Chicken £3.20), to classic dishes (Lamb Dansak £5.20), to the crushed chill hot (Lamb Patiwala £7.25), side dishes (Saag Aloo £2.75) and the extras (Pilao rice £2.30, Naan £2.20) nothing could be faulted. A lot of Indian meals, especially when there is a hot dish on the table, can blur the taste buds, but here each flavour came through. This balance was especially true of the dansak, when often the sour is allowed to over-power the sweet of this Persian speciality.

“That’ll be four papadams and some tasty food,” next time I’m in then.

• Simply Indian, 14-16 Station Road, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU11 1HT. Tel: 01252 330 070 or 0800 783 1481. Open: Daily 5.30pm-11pm.

Simply Indian snapshot

Food ① ② ③ ④

Decor ① ②

Value ① ② ③

Atmosphere (early Saturday night) ① ②

Service and friendliness ① ② ③ ④