Well who knew? As you may know I have been lucky enough to pair up with the luscious, vivacious Waheeda who also has a fantastic programme on Kennet Radio (Listen lovely readers, it is a cracking show). I am starting a new thread on food from different cultures and Waheeda is going to accompany me on some of these visits. This is great as we both know how to talk with enthusiasm and will bone up on the listening side later. Newbury has a lot of different places to eat and, particularly, seems to have a wealth of Indian restaurants so I was pleased to be able to visit one that has been recommended to me several times but which I had never managed to get to before. Lucky s is in Cheap Street and is run by ….. Lucky, what a fantastical coincidence!
In the dim and distant past I was a huge fan of curries, I was a convert to the Pat Chapman school of curry making so every few months I would make a huge batch (really I hear you saying, really, a huge batch, you don’t say, do you actually do anything in small amounts?? No I don’t, why would I?) of spice pastes, garlic, onion, ginger, chilli bases and all would be bottled and/or frozen. Maybe this was part of the problem as more and more people would ask for jars and base portions and it all got a bit mad.
The curry eating came to a grinding halt when I married Tony. I married a man who is allergic to chilli and this has seriously impeded my spicy fun :-). I have tried sneakily adding chilli to dishes and feigning complete ignorance when he changes colour and his body swells (I just wanted to check that it was a real allergy) but unfortunately he appears to be telling the truth, his body doesnt lie. I have also tried doing a separate chilli, ginger, garlic type mix to add to the food after it is cooked but it doesnt really work. Therefore I have been spice deprived and it was a real treat to go to Lucky s for what promised to be a delicious lunch.
I arrived to a warm welcome and perused the menu while I waited for Waheeda because she was late, just saying. She was well worth the wait though, this is a tiny but beautiful bundle of energy who flies about and does everything at high speed and with passion and good humour. Even better we were lucky enough to have the kind attentions of Lucky who was very entertaining and we all ended up talking about absolutely everything from deep spiritual matters to rather wild and jokey things. In fact we had such fun that I completely forgot to ask for the detail of what we were eating. This was partly because we didn’t order, Lucy sorted the whole thing out for us (and paid, thank you so much Sir) and chose a fantastic succession of courses. I enjoyed every single thing that was unlucky (see what I did there) enough to pass my fork.
I knew I had arrived at an Indian restaurant when we received the traditional poppadum and dippy things to nibble while Lucky chose the rest of the menu for us. It was so good to have the crunchy poppadums to dip in the cooling yoghurt, the fruity chutney and the crunchy shredded onion mix. For the first time I think Waheeda realised what it was going to be like having me as a dining partner. She ate with decorum and passed me tasty morsels, I accepted the tasty morsels and then hoovered everything else up! A selection of starters arrived which were so good and included stuffed jalepenos, chicken tikka (oh so moist), bhajis and two dips, one made with fresh tomatoes and one with tamarind, tasty.
Then came two of the nicest things I have eaten at an Indian restaurant, times have changed since I used to go, these were a prawn dish made with prawns so big I think that they may have been mutants but they tasted delicious, they were perfectly cooked in a sauce which was fresh, coriander and other herbs and spices working together so well. The other dish that was so lovely was the lamb which was meltingly tender and, oh joy, had enough of a kick for me to be pulled back through time 15 years as my tastebuds prompted my memory of long forgotten spiciness.
Pre Starter – yes we are now in an Indian restaurant
Lucky, the delightful owner
Waheeda my bouncy dining companion, not a great picture but it was really hard to get her to ever stay still for long enough!
Particularly outstanding dips with the starter, tamarind and fresh tomato
On the right are the very well cooked prawns, I think Waheeda managed to get one mwahahaha
Naan and rice
Oh so mouthwateringly tender, full of flavour, a nice little kick and a definite must have again dish.