NOW CALLED MUMBAI INDIAN RESTAURANT BUT RUN BY THE SAME PEOPLE
date of visit: Sunday 18 Sept 2011
We’re always on the look out for a decent, and reasonably local, curry restaurant. There are places we like in the city centre, but that’s no good if you want to nip out for an early, and swift, dinner. I actually became aware of the Belair Bhavan’s existence when the restaurant followed me on twitter. Not only that, but the restaurant is in the Entertainment Book so there was really no excuse for not visiting.
The Belair Bhavan lives opposite the BP, as Main Road turns into Belair Road. It’s a slightly odd location, but being part of the Belair Vines shopping centre means there’s no shortage of parking. As we were visiting early on a Sunday evening, we didn’t bother with a booking. Funnily enough, at 6pm on a Sunday, there was no problem getting a table but quite a few tables were reserved (including a large one) and even after our swift meal, the restaurant was definitely getting busier. What was also great to see was how well customers who were obviously regulars were looked after.
With baby and pram in tow, we were seated at a window table, with plenty of space around us, and a highchair was set up. All of that palaver over, we could get down to the serious business of inspecting the menu.
As its name suggests, the restaurant does indeed have a tandoor which you can see as you enter and naturally the menu features plenty of tandoor cooked goodies. We skipped starters and headed straight for main courses. I couldn’t go past the achari lamb (a curry cooked with pickle – hot lime pickle is one of my favourite things, so put it in a curry and I will almost always order it) and Andy chose the Kashmiri Elaichi lamb. As accompaniments we had rice and a naan bread.
Now this is a pretty lean order on which to base an assessment of a restaurant – but we were really happy with everything on the table. (The baby was slightly suspicious of the naan bread though!). The consensus was that I had won with my achari lamb but Andy only conceded that grudgingly. The achari lamb was spicy, hot with lime pickle through it – especially perfect as I had a slight cold. The Kashmiri lamb was a lot more subtle and the yoghurt made it a creamy, rich dish with a cardamom hit. The naan bread was crispy and buttery (or should that be ghee-y?) and was polished off, as was the rice. It makes such a pleasant change to go for a curry and actually manage to finish everything, instead of the usual over ordering.
Décor wise, the Bhavan is understated – its tables and chairs are quite basic and there’s nothing flashy about the interior. Andy and I both decided that it was very much like an English curry house – and that is a good thing. The emphasis seems to be on friendly service and good curries – what more can you ask for from your local curry house? We will definitely be back.
You can follow Belair Bhavan on twitter.