The birthday girl decided for her 60th celebrations, we’d try an Indian restaurant, the “Grand Trunk Road”:http://www.gtrrestaurant.co.uk/ as its location in South Woodford, was at a half way point and on a bus route. We hoped we were in for a treat as it’s from the team behind the Michelin-starred Tamarind restaurant in Mayfair.
We started with a bottle of celebratory prosecco, served in beautifully shaped glasses, whilst checking out the menu. This is Indian fine dining and there wasn’t a samosa or bhaaji in sight on either the “seasonal lunch menu”:http://www.gtrrestaurant.co.uk/assets/set-lunch-menu-august-2017.pdf (£18.50 for three courses) or “a la carte”:http://www.gtrrestaurant.co.uk/assets/gtr-menu-september-2017.pdf (which we opted for as the former wasn’t particularly inspiring). Whilst the menu is fine dining, it’s an informal type of place with unadorned wooden tables. This was good as at the end of our meal, there was a good amount of ‘spillage’ on the table as we’d shared most dishes.
We were the only people in the restaurant and service was attentive but not fussy. Poppadoms were suggested, (not on the menu) but were excellent although they looked more like curled up prawn crackers rather than flat poppadoms. They came accompanied by four dips which were definitely a cut above what you find with your Friday night chicken tikka.
We chose three starters, intending to share, so were delighted when each came in three portions. We had Kekde ki Tikki (Crab meat cake, lemongrass, curry leaves, potato and spicy chutney), Amritsari Tali Macchi (Tilapia ﬁsh, pepper, turmeric & carom seeds and mint chutney) and Punjabi Aloo (potato and paneer cakes, sultana, ginger, fresh coriander, green chilli, sweet yogurt & tamarind chutney). All were absolutely delicious and elicited many yum, yum noises from all of us.
My main was Punjabi Murgh Masala (chicken thighs, ginger, garlic, onion and tomato masala) and as I like very spicy food, I was given a side of a hot thick sauce to accompany it. Although the birthday girl also chose a chicken dish (Delhi Ka Chilli Pudina Murgh), they were completely different in colour and taste – none of that ‘we’ll make one gravy and put a few extra spices in one of them’. The Gosht dum Biryani with lamb looked marvellous with a pastry lid (cut at the table), keeping the rice and lamb succulent. We also shared a plain rice, naan and a portion of new potatoes with cumin and coriander. We loved them all, and the fact that they were all presented in different dishes. A bottle of Argentinean Torrontes went well with all the spicy flavours.
Service was good: our wine and water glasses were topped up throughout the meal and starched lined napkins folded when we left the table.
We were too full for pudding, but the birthday girl was presented with a chocolate and cardamom brownie and a scoop of honey and almond ice-cream which when tasted, prompted an individual portion to be ordered.
We finished with coffee and tea (all served in individual tea pots or cafeterias) and something I’ve never had before, hot cups. We all had a different liqueur with our drinks and complementary petit fours.
Our bill for three was £200 but as we waddled to the bus station, we all felt it had been thoroughly good value and a real treat.