MANGO Pickle is the new kid in town, launched by a celebrity chef in a blaze of publicity.
Certainly, Tommy Miah’s latest curry house caught our eye when it opened last month, but a phone number proved trickier to track down than Lord Lucan.
A titanic trawl through Google yielded no website, and even a retro-tastic call to the operator proved fruitless.
Eventually my wife and I decided just to pitch up at the door.
Thankfully there was plenty room for us – and we couldn’t help but wonder if the untraceable phone number had something to do with that.
If the numbers were lacking, the general feel of the place certainly wasn’t – with art deco wallpaper and huge bubble tanks, the interior is a striking change from its previous incarnation as Jimmy Chungs.
As we studied the eclectic menu, which contained the likes of lobster and quail alongside more traditional favourites, our friendly waiter produced a plate of complementary mini poppadoms loaded with mango chutney – a lovely touch. The staff are certainly keen to please – after asking for a little more time to decide three times, we finally agreed on two starters to share.
The first – spicy cheese balls – were wonderfully crumbly and packed with big flavours of onion and paprika. The peppers gave them a gentle heat, bolstered by a slight hint of Tabasco.
For the second starter we plumped for the hariyali macchi. The huge chunks of monkfish were flecked with chilli and fresh ginger, and came apart at the touch of a fork.
My wife found the unadvertised mustard coating slightly overpowering, but for a card-carrying mustard fan like me it was heaven.
Both starters came with a selection of dips – a vibrant mango chutney, a wonderfully creamy raita and a vivid green mint sauce – which added colour as well as flavour to our plates.
On to the main courses, and I’d been drawn in by the gosht Hindustani, and its claim of being “the most popular lamb dish in the whole of India”.
A billion people can’t be wrong, so I went for it – and boy, was I glad I did.
The lamb was covered in more of a paste than a sauce, which was wonderfully rich and packed with flavours of chilli, garlic and almond.
Those tongue-tingling tastes had also seeped into the meat and burst out with every bite.
My wife’s amere murgh – chicken breast in a mango pulp – was equally flavoursome, and certainly had the fruity hit she was expecting.
There was no hint of spice whatsoever, which she was a little surprised by, and she found the chicken a bit overcooked.
The only real disappointment of the meal came in the bread basket, which we ordered along with a portion of pilau rice.
The plain naan was fine and the paratha was crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle, but the stuffed naan was a letdown.
The description of bread stuffed with dates, coconut and poppy seeds had our mouths watering, but in reality all it held was a sprinkling of desiccated coconut. Still, that was a relatively minor quibble with what was otherwise a lovely meal, and it’s a recommendation we’ll pass on to our friends – along with the phone number!