by Aaron BorboraRarely does one find a curry house that combines excellent food with tasteful surroundings and top-notch service.
But Chutney’s, located on St Michael’s Street, offers just that. From beginning to end, we had a thoroughly enjoyable dining experience, thanks to the polite and capable staff. Despite our last-minute booking, a table was found at peak time and on arrival we were promptly seated at a good table well away from the distractions of the door. This positive first impression was only reinforced by the contemporary décor and furnishings. While many Indian restaurants seem to go out of their way to emulate the interior of a cross-channel ferry, the styling at Chutney’s was refreshingly modern.
The menu offered a truly extensive choice of mouthwatering dishes, meaning that one had difficulty in not ordering the whole lot. Bank managers and Yorkshiremen alike will be pleased with how reasonable the food is, with starters between £3 and £5 and mains £7-£11. Vegetarians are well catered for with a selection offering so much more than a generic ‘vegetable curry’; indeed, Chutney’s has won awards for the range and quality of its vegetarian offerings. Continuing the trend of offering much more than the average curry house, pescarians are able to choose from a selection of Bangladeshi fish including bhol (although rou, that king of fish, is a sad omission). A welcome feature of the menu is a brief description of each of the dishes, explaining their style and principle ingredients. Furthermore, many dishes can be chosen in mild/medium/hot variants, which makes it possible to try a new recipe free from the fear of destroying the buccal mucosa.
After an excellent starter of warm and crisp popadoms, which held no hint of oil and were accompanied by beautifully-flavoured dips, we were promptly served our meal. The Korai seafood dish was excellent, with plenty of succulent king prawns. The vegetables and onions were very fresh and the spice made its presence felt without being too intrusive. The only criticism is that it was a little on the dry side. The generous portion of lamb Pathia contained tender morsels, (as opposed to the meat at many Indian restaurants which seems to have the consistency of British Rail pork pies), smothered in a sauce that was rather too sweet and lacking in lemon to hold true to the dish’s Persian ancestry. For our side order we enjoyed Sag Paneer. This was truly excellent, with home-made cheese and fresh spinach. In contrast to many other establishments, the portions were all generous and there was no attempt made to cover up a stingy use of protein by an excessive amount of sauce or vegetables. Drinks, of the same reasonable prices as the food, were of a similarly high standard.
Throughout the meal service and presentation were first-rate. The well mannered staff paid attention to detail. It was nice to see, in these days of ever tightening margins and falling service standards, that we were still bought warmed plates. The quality feel also extended to the speed of service, something ensured by having a higher ratio of waiters to diners and a ‘common-user’ approach to service, whereby any member of staff would attend.
Overall, Chutney’s is a high-end establishment catering to those seeking something better than the flock-wallpaper and greasy food style of Indian restaurant. Surprisingly, for such an experience there is not a heavy financial premium, making this an ideal choice for a special or celebratory meal out. For those in a rush, they offer a take out service and an express lunch for only £7.50 during the week – the prefect antidote to too much time in the Bod.