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Balti #8 – Adil’s, 353 Ladypool Rd

July 13, 2010

Well, this was the last Balti before I present my findings to the public debate at mac on Thursday. I decided to head to one of the likely homes of the Balti, Adil’s restaurant on Ladypool Road (temporarily whilst their Stoney Lane home is refurbished). The small exterior of Adil’s temporary residence belied the rather spacious interior which fellow-diner Matt likened to a scout hut with it’s tatty wooden floor and polystyrene suspended ceiling. Still, the menu’s underneath glass-topped tables were a charming reminder of a bygone Balti golden era. Adil’s has been around for an astonishing 33 years, and claims on it’s website to be the “very premises from where the Balti method of cooking was introduced to Britain.” Perhaps that debate will be answered at Thurday’s debate, but for now, let me tell you about the curry…

The Balti

I was somewhat taken a back when the waiter responded to my “vegetable Balti and plain naan please” request with “exactly which vegetable Balti would you like sir?”. My quest has never been so free! As they didn’t have a mixed vegetable Balti on the menu, and I think it’s pretty insulting to order off menu in any establishment, I went for the vegetable, chana, dal and spinach Balti. As the jet black Balti bowl arrived at the table radiating like a lump of kryptonite, I was glad that my quest had begun and ended with a traditional Balti experience. This one was thick with more-red-than-brown gravy, which tasted pretty balanced spice wise, perhaps a little heavy handed on the paprika, and with an unfortunate slight burnt taste in the back of the throat. As promised the Balti was full of chana (chickpeas), dal (yellow split lentils), spinach (shredded), but pretty easy on the vegetables – in fact apart from a solitary slice of raw tomato, the only detectable veg were a few small new potatoes, almost certainly of the tinned variety. This wasn’t a bad Balti though – if they had added some fresh veg and coriander, and managed to get rid of the niggling burnt-ness in the sauce, it would actually be a really great curry.

The Naan

Harrumph, I’m getting depressed about this now. Another standard naan bread made with self raising flour, on the dry side, would have been better brushed with a little ghee. Cheap though at only a quid.

Overall I didn’t have  a terrible meal, and I was glad to be ending my quest at one of the potential homes of the Balti, eating a traditional version of this famous dish.

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