Today is Indian Independence day, the day that officially marked India’s independence from British Rule in 1947.
The Gateway of India is a monument built during the 20th century that symbolises the meeting of these two cultures. The Gateway has also been referred to as the Taj Mahal of Mumbai, and is the city’s top tourist attraction.
The structure was erected to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary at Apollo Bunder, when they visited India in 1911. The Gateway was later the ceremonial entrance to India for Viceroys and the new Governors of Bombay, allowing entry and access to India.
It’s well known that the end of this rule brought great division and bloodshed. Now 70 years later, there has been a reversal of fortune. Just like the British left their mark on India, Indian culture has now made a big impression on Britain. And in what better way, than with food. Curry is now Britain’s favourite dish.
So with that in mind, food blogger Anita Champaneri, gives us her review of the new Gateway To India restaurant on Broad Street.
Brummies’ long lasting love affair with curry does not seem to be waning. We cannot get enough of curry. We love the hot stuff. Spicy, tangy or fiery; however you take your curry, we could eat it day in day out, for lunch, dinner and sometimes, even breakfast.
So there was little surprise that Broad Street have another Indian restaurant to add to its long list of inhabitants.
Gateway To India is the new addition to set up home here, next to the former Blue Mango and under Jimmy Spices world buffet.
With a name inspired by the Gateway of India, a twentieth century arch monument that overlooks the Arabian sea, Gateway to India focuses on real, tradition Indian delights.
The walls are covered in vintage pictures and Indian inspired artwork, with geometric wood cut outs, a glossy bar and a view of the kitchen. The decor harks back to the Indian Maharajas of old, including a portrait of The Black Prince, Maharaja Duleep Singh.
Dark and cosy, the sunlight is literally carved into the wall art. It has a small and intimate feel but can seat around 80. Guests are in for a real treat. The meat isn’t halal, but there are plenty of vegetarian and seafood options.
Our family paid it a visit one Saturday night when it was just starting to get busy. The waitresses are very attentive and sat us down promptly. The kitchen is open to view from the restaurant, so you can see the chefs hard at work recreating the cooking methods and dishes of the real India.
Over a basket of savory poppadoms, the Krakehdar ones, we had a quick mooch of the cocktail menu. The Maharani really stood out. A tall gin cocktail with a berry puree, I’m not usually a fan of gin, but this was a good concoction.
The staff were very good at making suggestions as the menu is pretty big. There are over a dozen street food options to choose from: pau bhaji, bel puri, samosa chaat, aloo tikki, samosa, kachori and bhature. You’ll be spoilt for choice!
For starters there is a variety of tikka and kebab options and several fish ones like salmon dildar, masala fish, cod pakora and tandoori prawns.
All your favourites can be found on the mains too, as well as some new varieties such as Butter Pepper Garlic Lobster £22.99, a Manglorean delicacy of lobster chunks, stir-fried in a tamarind garlic and butter sauce finished with freshly ground black pepper.
The menu, presented like a newspaper, claims to have a little something for veggies, but actually they have rather a lot! Ten choices ranging from paneer, dhal, mushrooms, aloo gobi (potato and cawliflower) and Punjabi chole (chickpeas).
There is also a choice of mixed grills, all colonial sounding like The Viceroy and The Maharajah. From the affordable Shakahari (the vegetarian option at £8.99) to the most expensive, The Maharaja Grill (at £22.99), which is a sizzling flavoursome platter of succulent chicken tikka, tandoori chicken wings, tender lamb gilafi seekh kebab, tandoori chicken on the bone, lamb chops and cod pakora served on a bed of sautéed seasoned onions, garnished with a dash of fresh coriander. I’m sure it tastes as impressive as it sounds!
As usual we were in a culinary conundrum and couldn’t decide what to have.
Finally we decided on the Tandoori King Prawn starters (£12.99), which were the most mouth watering king prawns I have tasted in a long, long time. Just thinking about it, is making me salivate! They were cooked in the chefs special marinade sauce with cheese and a touch of cardamom. The king prawns were robust and plump and the cardamom set it off beautifully. Cooked in a tandoor until tender & golden, it came presented on a tasty bed of mint and coriander cous cous. Tangy and mouth-watering, I felt very smug about my choice!
Hubby had the chicken dosa, an old favourite that didn’t disappoint. Served with a trio of chutneys and dhal, the crispy desi pancake was perfect and very filling!
We also had the nicely presented Chicken Malai Kebab (£7.99), succulent chunks of chicken breast, wrapped in creamy textures of cheese, herbs, spices and cashew nut paste with a touch of cardamom.
For the mains I had an old favourite, the Kadhai Murgh (£11.99), tender pieces of chicken breast cooked with fresh green chillies, chopped onions, tomatoes and julienne cut peppers, finished with aromatic in-house special crushed kadhai spices.
Hubby also had the Gosht Saagwala (£12.99), slow braised British lamb and spinach tossed with cumin, garlic, in house spices finished with crumbled roast fenugreek leaves. It had a nice creamy finish to it and not too spicy.
As we could tell the starters were filling us up, we had more side dishes than mains. We enjoyed the Bhindi Do Pyaza (V) £8.49, crispy okra tossed in dry roasted spices, red onion and diced tomatoes. Our sides were a lightly spiced portion of mushroom rice and a bread basket of garlic naan.
For desserts we shared the Gajar Ka Halwa Tart (£4.99), the sweet carrot cake dish is always a popular choice. Finely grated carrots tenderly cooked in milk and sugar, finished with a delicate touch of cardamom, garnished with a sprinkle of nuts. It tasted great served with the vanilla ice cream.
Overall the quality, taste and presentation of the food was superb and the service was really good. The atmosphere is very relaxed and understated. Next time we hope to try all the street food dishes – there was quite a lot of them –
Food blogger Anita Champaneri, is MD of the hospitality PR Agency, Delicious PR