KoolBa holds an accolade very few others will ever attain - ‘Best Curry Restaurant in Britain’. And having eaten there now I can see exactly why they’ve walked away with that top award.
On entering we were met by Nazem, an exceptionally professional and friendly manager, who really was the epitome of a Maitre d’. Shown to our table, jackets were promptly whisked away, menus delivered and daily specials explained.
And now to the food. We started with the obligatory poppadoms and a mix of dips. These include a raita, spicy onions, mango chutney and a curry veg. The poppadoms were light, crispy and a good size, with not a hint of oiliness about them - just the way they should be.
The dips were home-made, as one would expect, with the mango chutney being the best I’ve tasted - sweet, sticky and a little spice mmmm! The spicy onions had the right amount of kick to them, and the raita was something special. A mix of yoghurt, cucumber, red onion, tomato and olive oil - delightful.
Next up was the garlic mushroom chaat. This was served with a chapati to help mop up what was a delicious creamy sweet sauce coating the thinly sliced mushrooms. The sweetness of this dish threw me at first as I was expecting something more savoury, but it certainly wasn’t an unpleasant surprise.
We also opted for the chickpea poori which is an unleavened deep-fried Indian bread upon which was a dollop of succulent and soft chickpeas dressed in a slightly tangy and fruity tomato based sauce. Again these were both winners with plates wiped clean
For mains we had chosen from the Persian section of the menu with a duo of kebabs (Majestic Kebab). One chicken and the second being a minced lamb, served with a dressed side salad and a bowl of Basmati rice.
The chicken kebab was flavoured with a mix of herbs which the restaurant refused to divulge the details of, even with me offering huge inducements! Daughter dearest said it was the tenderest and succulent chicken she’d ever tasted. Apparently these were legendary as far as kebabs go.
My choice was a king prawn Ceylonese Korma. Now I’m going to let you into a wee secret right now - I think this must have been the dish that won them that award because it’s the best one I’ve ever tasted. Sweet, succulent and tender seafood with five of the biggest Atlantic prawns. So different from the usual supermarket imposters.
The sauce was as it is supposed to be, creamy, sweet and with a hint of coconut which wasn’t overpowering, and surprisingly light, despite the cream base to this dish. Be aware the tail of the prawn shell is still on and don’t do as I did and crunch down.
It was all accompanied by a cracking Peshwari nan and the lightest bowl of rice you could hope for.