Hello world, how are you? I’m well and thankful that I’m in the warm indoors on this blustery, cold Sunday. On these wintry nights, only hearty, wholesome fayre will do. Which is why this foodie blogger found herself wandering down to Anoki in Derby, a fine-dining restaurant on London Road in a bid to chase away my head-cold and wintry blues.
Now, I love curries. More than cheesecake (which is a whole lot of love for Chicken Jalfrezi and such like). I have dined here before and had always liked the architecture and grandeur of the place. It’s a nice joint to chill out in and enjoy sumptuous surroundings whilst catching glimpses of a Bollywood film streamed on the far wall towards the back on the second floor. One can be mistaken for having stumbled onto an extravagant film set, if the staff costumes are anything to go by. The staff are polite, courteous and decked out in maharajah-style outfits, headpieces in all. It’s a nice touch, dramatic kitsch but ultimately cool.
We were seated upstairs, ordered a very nice Cabernet Franc Rose and within minutes, a warm bowl of poppadoms and chutney tray had materialised on our spacious table. I have to note that it was a warm bowl. Let me just reiterate this, as I have never been in an Indian restaurant and had poppadoms served in a warm bowl. A WARM BOWL. It is thoughtful touches like these which make a good experience into a great one. The poppadum shards were crunchy and the condiments moreish. Watch out for their onion offering, which is spicy, zingy and packs a punch in all the right spots.
I had a three course meal and kicked off with the Reshmi Kebab. Chargrilled butterflied chicken chunks sprinkled with black pepper and coriander were served with a variety of sauces from traditional mint, tamarind and chilli. Now, the chicken was melt in the mouth and heavenly. If I could have the recipe for this (come on Anoki, sharing is caring and all that jazz), then I’d be a very happy foodie blogger. Each chicken piece was delicious and the starter size fairly substantial. Even the side-salad was perfectly dressed with a subtly sweet balsamic vinegar (none of that naked salad which is the reserve of more pedestrian restaurants, thank you very much).
My dining companion (The Dude) enjoyed his starter of Spicy Grill Selection, consisting of delicately spiced Chicken and Lamb Tikka and Seekh Kebab. And judging from the time the food stayed on his plate (it was all over in flash), it can be said his starter was a resounding success.
Now to the mains. I had the Mirch Masala Chicken, which judging from the title, was expecting to be a hot one. Overall a decent dish, but all I could taste was heavy cardamom. The Dude had Desi Lamb, a northern Indian dish which was perfectly spiced and tasted very nice. I had a Paratha with mine and The Dude, a Roti.
Now, my pet peeve is a greasy curry. I loathe the darn things. And unfortunately, both the chicken and lamb curries were heavily greased up. The flavours on the lamb curry were really rather delicious but the amount of grease let both dishes down. It’s a pity, as the meal had started off with great promise and the starter was one of the best I have ever tasted (that’s saying something, considering I’ve dined at tonnes of restaurants around the country).
Now onto dessert. I had the Gulab Jamun (mini fried doughnut balls), whilst The Dude had Cheesecake. Both were decent desserts. Nothing standout about them, just very, very regular dishes that I couldn’t necessarily describe, simply because they were too middle of the road. From a restaurant styled as a fine-dining eatery, I was expecting more from Anoki, especially after those heavenly starters. With the anticlimactic dessert, I was underwhelmed more than anything. Would I dine here again? Maybe. Would I order a main? No, I’d go for the starter alone, because I can’t bear all that grease again.
Another point to mention is the parking. From a two-floored restaurant with well over 200 covers, I was expecting adequate parking. This was unfortunately not the case. We had to park 10 minutes down the road, as Anoki’s car park adjacent to the restaurant was tiny and almost to full capacity. Just a few minor niggles makes me give this restaurant 5.5/10 (kudos to the courteous staff for being wonderfully congenial). It’ll be some time before I visit Anoki; to future diners, enjoy the experience and definitely keep an eye out for the starters.
*Thank you to Taste The Seasons, for the competition voucher to dine at Anoki yesterday.*