The main courses are big enough to share at Gate
I WONDER what dinner at a Sultan's birthday would be like.
Such is the enticing description of the dining experience on the back of the menu at The Gate of India that it leads you to raise your expectations.
Certainly, the surroundings set an impressive first impression with its serene atmosphere and the soft echoes of traditional Indian music.
A sea of white leather high-backed chairs flanked smart white linen-laid tables while, above sweeping arches, modern swirls of lime and blue lights drew the eyes upwards towards a sparkling chandelier.
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The menu is so extensive that I took a long time to decide. To get things started we decided on two appetisers. They arrived quickly and were beautifully presented with salad garnishes on gorgeous delicately decorated floral plates. My four brightly coloured onion bhajees (£2.75) were light and not at all greasy or overpowering in flavour. The finely chopped onion and special herbs fried with lentils were just right to get my taste buds tingling.
My partner went for the vegetable samosa (£2.75). He liked its crispness and said it was packed with filling, which he enjoyed.
Wanting something not too heavy for the main I settled on the Goan tamari prawns (£10.95).
A modest handful of well-cooked king prawns arrived with a flourish in a vibrant sauce cooked with coconut, sliced raw mango and chopped curry leaves. Twists of orange slices adorned the delicately flavoured dish and vegetable pilau rice (£3.50) was hot and plentiful.
My partner had his eye on the Tuesday Thali night special (£12.95) – any main dish with saag aloo, daal tarka, onion bhaji and mixed vegetable bhaji, yoghurt, basmati rice and naan on the side. Choosing chicken Gurkha massala cooked with fresh garlic, ginger, tomatoes and butter, he lamented when it arrived steaming hot that he shouldn't have indulged in an appetiser as the accompanying dishes were generous and plentiful. He sang its praises, enjoying the variety of flavours and said he'd definitely go for it again on a return visit.
I was ashamed to only manage half of my very sizeable main course. We pledged to share one main between us on another visit.
The selection of icecreams looked tempting but we had to admit defeat. And so we left the bright lights of The Gate of India behind and stored it away as a great place for an enjoyable return visit.