Curry Lounge – Indian – Nottingham
Upper Parliament Street’s Curry Lounge can be considered a extension to the Indian oligopoly of Maid Marian way. Since it’s opening in 2007 it has had its fair share of publicity, most notably a visit from Gordon Ramsay. It’s decor strays from the typical curry venue with minimalist black lacquer throughout, flanked by the odd waterfall and crystal arrangement hung from the ceiling. There is also relatively low lighting, worth noting in advance of my slightly dubious pictures! With all this going on you might expect something particularly flash from Curry Lounge, but that isn’t the case. If anything it’s more traditional with its mission of “bringing Indian home cooking to the tables of its guests”. A number of new dishes have just been added and I was lucky enough to be invited to try some with a couple of friends.
We chose a real range of starters; buttery king prawns were well cooked, plump and juicy, the crustaceans themselves that good that they could have carried a little more spice amongst the dish. The best of the starters, a recommendation from the waiting team, was a new chicken tandoori which managed not to fall into the trap of dry meat that so often materialises from the clay oven. My starter was unceremoniously titled ‘Lamb Hot Meat’. I couldn’t argue with any three of those words as a description, it particularly lived up to its adjective. No complaints about the lamb itself, the meat remaining tender, but it was blistering. I don’t mind heat (Shanghai Shanghai) but it was bordering on losing the flavour, a dangerous line to cross.
I may have been ruing my choice of starter but not for long, redemption soon came with a main that was an overwhelming favourite at the table. Desi chooza salan was a dark curry flavoured with garlic and fenugreek that had a great depth of flavour that was aided by chicken cooked on the bone that was seriously moist. Chicken makni and a lamb dish (whose name escapes me) were both nice but milder with buttery sauces, great dishes to have if you are sharing. They didn’t have the level or complexity of spice for me if I were choosing a solo main, but Korma/Dopiaza fans take note! A final Kashmiri chicken was more jafrezi-like with greater spice but a freshness from peppers, a strong dish.
Service was generally good, although a little missed step in clearing my friends pates whilst I was still eating (mostly picking the remaining chicken from the bone!). The very approachable owner Raz came to have a chat with us and discuss the dishes, he seemed genuinely open to feedback and wanting to make the new dishes as popular as possible. A bit of tweaking will hopefully improve the odd dish but my main was already one of the best curries in Nottingham.
As I see it the top tier of Indian restaurants in the city are strong in depth and breadth, my current favourites being; Cumin, 4550 from Delhi and Curry Lounge. It you want something different, head to Kayal. If you want something cheap, dirty and tasty head to Desi. If I had to be pushed on where to avoid, recent experience tells me; Calcutta Club, Mogul-E-Azam and Chutney.
I’ll try and cover off reviewing more of the aforementioned in the next few months.
Restaurant website: http://www.currylounge.co.uk/