WITH Dorothy fever gripping the nation – well, according to Graham Norton anyway – we are constantly being told there’s no place like home.
And funnily enough, that’s true when it comes to the passion for curry in the Begbie household.
Mrs B and I have scoured the North-east looking for the finest Indian cuisine. But, sometimes, we decide to just chillax and stay closer to home – somewhere like Tandoori Haven, for example.
Mind you, things got off to a wobbly start. I had phoned to book a table, been told I didn’t need to, but on setting foot inside was asked “have you booked”.
My “no” was greeted with a tut and a scan around a near empty restaurant, before we were offered a table next to the front door, as opposed to a cosy one in the body of the kirk.
Not good, so I said so, and we were seated where we wanted. So far, so off-hand.
But things picked up as we salivated over the menu, new and funky since our last visit.
It’s a good sign when an eatery updates the food on offer, rather than depending on same old, same old.
And the good signs continued with the arrival of our shared starter, a mixed kebab (£4.95).
The tender lamb tikka melted in the mouth in a riot of flavours, as did the chicken, while the sheek kebab brought zing to the party.
We had a wee pause, a wee gripe about the efficient but still perfunctory service – staff spent too much time chatting to each other instead of customers – before the mains arrived. And they were magnificent.
My dulhaniya lamb (£8.96) was described as a Pharsee wedding dish and was indeed a cause for celebration. The meat was fabulously tangy, buttery and lemony, while chickpeas added a pleasing crunch and fresh coriander lifted the dish.
It was like nothing I had tasted before, but would certainly want to taste again.
Meanwhile, Mrs B was busy going “yum”. Her balti zorda aloo chicken tikka (8.95) was going down a treat.
Like a rich, succulent chicken stew in a mildy-spiced gravy, it was all chunks of tomato, onion and bite-sized tatties to soak up the balti flavours. And a finely-cut fried potato garnish added a pleasing crunch.
All of this, plus a pilau rice (£2.40) and garlic naan (£2.60) created a real feast.
And by this time, the staff had become chatty and attentive – which was nice.
It all just goes to show that Dorothy is right – sometimes there is no place like home.