Kayal – Indian – Nottingham
Indian cuisine throughout the UK typically conjures thoughts of Korma, Rogan Josh and Balti. Whilst many riff from this book of favourites Kayal focusses on the food of a specific Indian state, Kerala. Kerala sits in the South of India, its proximity to the sea having a profound influence on its culinary traditions, fish and vegetable dishes are the star here.
Stepping into the Broad Street restaurant the signs are good with not a table to be had a on Wednesday night. Paul Hollywood and the Hairy Bikers have both visited the Leicester branch of Kayal to make, and sample, their famous Dosa. So where better place for us to kick off? The rice and lentil pancake is beautifully thin and well made, the filling light, fluffy and fragrant. According to my more widely travelled dining companions you can get a better one in India for a fraction of the price, but they still place it as a fine effort. Also sampled was a spicy prawn dish, the shellfish cooked with and with a pleasing kick but the disappointment being the portion being far from generous.
For main course I personally reverted to a favourite, chicken dumpling curry (For the record it’s real name, which I have not once attempted to pronounce, is Ammachi Pidiyum Kozhiyum). When I first had it I eyed the dumplings with suspicion but they work fantastically in the place of a normal nice compliment. The curry itself has well cooked chicken with an aromatic sauce that has a good heat but a touch more wouldn’t go amiss. Breads with the main courses were excellent and again the break from the naan of other restaurants is welcome. Appam with its crispy edges and soft middle to a large flat Paratha were both very good. Also (unnecessarily) added to the mains were spicy potatoes, they included more vegetables than their ‘Bombay’ counterpart which bought a nice freshness to break up the mound of carbs.
Prices can vary quite wildly at Kayal, my prawn starter was around the £7 mark hence the disappointment at the meagre offering. Some mains start from less than £7 (£6.69 for a ‘chicken stew’) but some of the main fish dishes will set you back around £15. By comparison to the Indian mainstream it can be expensive, however I feel there is much to be admired about restaurants who bring new tastes and flavours. Kayal is one that has prospered and I am confident it will continue to do so with the good food it consistently serves.
Restaurant website: http://www.kayalrestaurant.com/
Date of my visit: September 2013