It turns out that this is National Curry Week so the decision as to what to eat was made for me. All I needed to do was work out which of the sub-continent’s restaurants I would choose.
To people of a certain age, the word Tiffin summons up memories of a chocolate bar made by Cadbury’s which contained raisins and biscuit but it seems to have gone the way of many a confection such as Five Boys and Spangles. There are recipes on-line for the choccy version but Tiffin really means a snack although in some parts of India it refers to lunch, so there was really only one place I could choose.
Indian Tiffin Room has been on my radar for some time but I have not called before. I seem to remember that I was late in dining one day and the lunch offer ends at 2.30 and on another occasion I was due to meet someone in the afternoon so didn’t want to risk curry breath. Today it was not yet one o’clock and my appointments calendar is empty until the Christmas after next so it was a perfect time to see what they had on offer.
What they had on offer was everything. By that I mean that they have Thali on the lunchtime special menu which comes in a choice of vegetarian at £8.75 and non-vegetarian £9.75. I love it when this happens as it means that I get to try a selection of the kitchen’s output without putting on a couple of stones in weight.
When I had taken a seat my order was taken by a very pleasant waitress who brought me a jug of water from which she filled the metal beaker on the table. The jug was taken away but I was told to ask if I wanted a refill. The order I gave her was for the non-vegetarian Thali, and a Lassi for £2.50. At the risk of sounding like a fifties film, I love lassi.
When the lassi arrived, in another metal beaker, I took a taste and found that it was the real deal plain version not a fruit one. I have nothing against the mango flavour but it is a little sweet for my taste, a bit like a healthy milkshake.
Within a couple of minutes I was presented with a huge platter upon which was a selection of dishes which had a starter, several main dishes and a dessert. See what I mean about it having everything.
The starter was a pakora which contained potato, hidden in the photograph by the large puri, on a bed of salad. Anticlockwise from the puri are rice, chicken curry, cauliflower and potato, lentil, raita and finally phirni, which is a rice pudding.
Everything was wonderful and the small dishes were bigger than they looked being deceptively deep. The chicken curry especially had a distinctive taste which I could not place so I asked a waiter what it was and he said it was chicken coriander curry, they are obviously, and quite rightly, protecting a secret ingredient here. The vegetable dishes also contained my favourite ingredients in cauliflower, potatoes and lentils. Had there been chickpeas it would have been a full house.
Although the three curries had lots of flavour none of them was very hot, so you won’t be challenged in that respect. If you enjoy the challenge of a vindaloo or even a Madras you might be a little disappointed but this is lunch not Man v Food. The website does point out that ‘our menu is healthy, less influenced by heavily flavoured spices but is filled with the authentic flavours of India’. I was relieved to read that it was not just me then.
I ended the meal with my usual black coffee which came in at £3.00 but if you are content to stick with tap water this is a great value meal with effectively three courses for under a tenner.
Thank you to whomever dreamt up National Curry Week which has given me the nudge I needed to visit Indian Tiffin Room, roll on National Pie and Pea Week.