dancingwithmissb


Food review: BHOJ Reading
July 9, 2013, 8:23 pm
Filed under: Food reviews

Belt-loosening, rich, stodgy food is usually what I expect when eating at an Indian restaurant.

It’s usually straight to bed for me afterwards because I’m barely able to move after eating so much curry. But when I dined at Bhoj it was a different story.

Having secured a five star chef who worked for the Taj Group before moving to the UK, the Singh family who run the restaurant are proud to serve up subtle and thoughtfully presented food.

“The menu is inspired by our home cooking, not specifically for a Western market,” explained head of the family Updesh Singh, who hails from Punjab in Northern India.

We started with papadums and dips (50p to £1) before tucking into a pre-starter of potatoes dipped in honey, sesame and chilli.

It was clear, even at this early point, the food was better than your average Indian restaurant. This family of self-proclaimed foodies proved in one dish that their menu has a real emphasis on layering and balancing spice and flavours.

Another special and my favourite starter was ‘star’ fried chicken with a twist. The chicken was so tender it fell apart on my tongue and the twist – it was cooked with curry leaves, tomatoes and tumeric on a crispy naan. The dish had a slight kick but was cooled off with Paneer Tikka Hariyali (£4.95) – home made cottage cheese marinated with yogurt and spinach.

The Boti Kebab (£6.95) again showcased the intense layering of flavours with cubes of lamb marinated with yogurt and fruity spices. As you would expect the usual Korma, Jalfrezi, Madras and Vindaloo options are available, (all £6.95), but the Chicken Korma was not rich or sickly like some I have tried before. It was sweet, fragrant and creamy and much more subtle than Kormas I have had in the past.

The chef recommended lemon rice mixed with cashew nuts to go with the mild curry and he knew what he was talking about as the flavours really worked.

Updesh also recommended Matar Methi Malai Chaman (£6.25) – fenugreek leaves mixed with green peas, cubes of cottage cheese and cooked in an onion gravy with a dash of cream.

I wouldn’t usually pick a veggie option when there is meat on offer but I will in future as this dish could easily rival its meaty competitors.

The Rara Lamb (£7.85) was something I haven’t tried before, but it was good to delve further into the more adventurous side of the menu. Lamb cubes were mixed with minced lamb and cooked with chopped onion tumeric and fresh spices. Like the other sauces I tried there was no oily residue, just lots of different flavours.

A basket of tasty homemade bread and naan, soon to be on the menu, was ideal for dunking and scooping up the tasty sauces and just thinking about the garlic naan and buttery aloo paratha makes my mouth water now.

Water, as it happens, is something I should address, because Bhoj doesn’t have an alcohol licence so it serves soft drinks, lassis or masala tea.

If you want alcohol you will have to take your own, which is a point to remember.

Another thing to mention, is my visit to the restaurant reminded me to never judge a book by its cover.

Bhoj is right on the Oxford Road and is also a takeaway, and right now the front looks like it is just that.

But the Singh family said a makeover will be completed soon, which should see the exterior and interior match up to the quality of the food. It was lucky that they do offer takeaway as it meant I could take my leftovers home, along with some pudding. A tub of sweet Kheer (£2) was a nice milky finish to the meal at home and curry warmed up nicely for a tasty work lunch the next day.

Food can be ordered via JustEat.co.uk.

See the original review here.

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