I’m going to save you my usual preamble and jump straight in with this blogpost. On tonight’s food blogger menu is Clapham Tandoori which is opposite Clapham Common tube station.
To start…Baingan E Bahar on the menu was described as baked aubergine steaks stuffed with paneer. The image does allude to something similar, although it looks slightly different; more like an aubergine sandwiched between two chunky of paneer – not really stuffed. The aubergine was as one would expect and the paneer really was quite bland. There wasn’t any sauces or condiments save for the garnish and swirl of mixed sauce which had a bit of a skin on it – as if it has been sat under the heater, waiting for everything to be plated.
The Welshman and I ordered something more unusual I spotted on the menu as I do like to try out new things. This dish was significantly more rewarding in flavour – Patty Bola Chingri…
The gram flour pancake, which surrounded the prawns in the mild tomato-based curry, was tasty enough and crispy on the outside. Gram flour, as I’m sure you are familiar, is made from chick peas and therefore has a similar flavour to popadoms which are made of the same thing. This pancake was crispy on the outside but a little tough as I bit through. The additional peppercorns embedded in the flour mix did give it a little more lift. The prawn mix was well flavoured but could have done with a few more prawns. What is with these wet iceberg lettuce garnishes though? Please cut it out (or be more inventive – does anyone ever eat them?)!
Photographing curry at Indian and making it look delicious, is never an easy task regardless of whether you have an iPhone or a DSLR. I apologise in advance.
Onto the mains, first up was the The Golda Chingri Morrisha – grilled king sized prawns, cooked with green peppers, onions and fresh green chillies in a hot sauce. Allegedly it was awarded the Best Seafood Curry of 2006. That’s not that strange, but closely followed after that statement was this – House of Commons – in brackets. Whether or not this curry has been honoured in statute, remains to be seen. The sauce was a little cloyie (suspiciously shiny and a little gloopy) but had a decent kick which pleased my taste buds. There were more giant king prawns than you could throw a stick at, although they’d been grilled a little too much beforehand and were slightly chewy and overcooked.
Th Welshman ordered Chicken Xakuti; a South Indian-style curry which was prepared with freshly ground coconut – again bestowed with a House of Commons award and looked something like this…
As I’ve mentioned before, The Welshman is a man of few adjectives and still he described the chicken as a stringy and dry. The sauce was fresher tasting than mine but was too coarse as a result of the nobbules of coconut. The sauce didn’t do too much to bring out the individual spices and they were lost as a result.
The Peshwari naan was pleasing enough, although why they drowned it in sweet syrup is beyond me. My saag paratha had been waiting under the heater for way too long – DRY!
The service was good and despite this not being the most favourable review, Clapham Tandoori wasn’t a terrible meal. They’ve been in the same location for about 70-odd years and the business is still run within the founding family – they’re a stalwart compared to the vast majority of Clapham Common restaurateurs. It does appear they are trying to give that ‘finer dining’ experience to that of your average curry house. The execution was haphazard in places and although there were some pleasing flavours in both mine and The Welshman’s dishes, there were the tiny details which had been neglected. It would be the place to go if you had a lot of hungry friends and were searching for a substantial Indian / Bangladeshi meal in Clapham, but if you’re after finesse and beautiful flavourings and accompaniments, it’s probably not for you.
I was invited by Clapham Tandoori for this review.