Thursday, August 10, 2006

Curryleaf East, London

Curryleaf East
20, City road,
London EC1Y 2AJ

Having spent the day expecting to go to Anakana having read the great reviews on London-Eating, my two companions and myself were slightly disappointed to find it shut due to some electrical fault or other.

Not sure what to do next, we took the "any port in a storm" option and headed into the next Indian restaurant that we saw. This happened to be the Curryleaf East on City Road. The menu looked promising, so we decided to try it.

The interior is very smart, with dark wood decoration and high backed chairs that somehow gives an Indian feel to the place without it screaming at you or having any resemblance to the flock wallpaper we all know and love.

Indian food, like Italian food, is usually pretty good for vegetarians. Even if there are no main dishes on the menu, the selection of side dishes usually provide a tasty, varied meal.

And so it is with Curryleaf East. The only veggie option on the main menu is Navratan (vegetable) Biryani, but there are loads of vegetable starters and side dishes.

To start we ordered a selection from the vegetable starters list. The Aloo Tiki Pithi Wala (crispy fried mashed potatoes shuffed with lentils and topped with yoghurt) were very tasty as were the Mysore Bonda (fried ginger and coriander potato balls) but my fave were the Bharwan Khumb (stuffed mushrooms).

For the main course I had Baigan Mirch Ka Salan which consisted of beautifully cooked baby aubergines in a peanut yoghurt sauce. Along side this I had Matar Paneer, Miloni Khurchan (mixed vegetables with pomegranite) and mushroom pilau rice. The combination worked well and nothing overwhelmed the other by being too hot or too bland.

The Curryleaf East was a pleasant surprise after the disappointment of finding the Anakan shut. the service was good - attentive, but not too attentive, the setting was very pleasant and, above all, the food was good.

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