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Dining in Derbyshire – Taj, Alfreton

Dining in Derbyshire – Taj, Alfreton

The newly opened Taj Indian Restaurant on King Street, Alfreton provided us with the opportunity to meet  and share a unique dining experience, I’ll explain…  Owner Vir Chijar is an experienced pizza chef of many years! That’s a twist we weren’t expecting and that’s  not all as  he has a vast experience in the food industry spanning a few countries and continents. Then into the equation comes Mr Asha Ran, a 5 star Indian hotel  trained chef, formerly of two very well known established Derby restaurants, and curry chef Mr Rawat. You can watch Asha cooking your meal too as the Tandoor is in the restaurant area. Putting all that together and reading the menu we knew we were in for a good evening. 

We were greeted on arrival by Virs daughter Simran, a very communicative individual who really put us at ease with her lively chat about the restaurant and their goals for it.  They all have a very down to earth view of things and it was refreshing to hear someone who doesn’t want to take over the world of dining out by next Saturday. Getting the quality ingredients comes first for them and giving the customer a good dining experience. Whether it’s by a takeaway or dining in the restaurant, they feel that their client base will grow naturally.  Simran explained ‘We would love people to experience a takeaway first and judge us on that. We are confident that once they’ve done that they will be happy to dine in the restaurant’.  I would agree with that because the 14th century proverb, ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’ comes very much into play here. 

Now we were ready to eat, with a pint of Cobra in hand (in proper Cobra glasses), Simran made a few recommendations that she felt we would enjoy. We chose a couple of these because lots of things caught our eye that aren’t on your regular Indian restaurant menu. For instance there are small plates either meat or vegetarian, they also do a ‘Naanwich’  with various fillings, which is a nice change if you’re in a rush.  There are kids meals too which include chicken nuggets and chips, fish fingers and chips or chicken Tikka and chips all at £6.

We decided to have two from the small plates section between the three of us.  Chicken Momo, a Tibetan delicacy of fried dumplings stuffed with chicken mince, spring onion and served with tomato and sesame chutney.  One each of these! This was a great start for us and the portions were generous.

Secondly, chilli chicken Tikka, an Indo Chinese appetiser with peppers and onions. The onions and peppers weren’t over cooked, just nice and crunchy .This was a most popular dish and it was a case of first come first served. ( I do hope that the picture does it justice.) 

Moving onto the mains, the first choice was Handi Gosht.  This simple nomadic recipe is very popular as it is easily prepared in  a single pot. Essentially it’s a  lamb stew cooked with tomatoes, onions and spices. I personally didn’t try this but I was assured that it was very tasty.

I picked the Chicken Tikka Masala as I wanted to make comparison to other places I’ve tried. It wasn’t too sweet and the coconut flavour came through handsomely. It was nicely finished with a swirl of cream on top. A traditional dish I know but one that needed to be tried and with plain and peshwari naans in hand this completed the dish.

One more dish was added  to complete our dining experience,  Taj Tawa Lamb, this is a special Indian restaurant and roadside dish, cooked on an Iron griddle with capsicum, onions and coriander to impart special flavours. The curry chef’s experience in balancing traditional spices really shone through here. 

If you love a fish dish then the Tandoori seabass comes highly recommended. Marinated in cracked coriander, chilli, mustard and lime it is served with Bombay potatoes and salad. 

Conveniently the Taj Restaurant opens at 4pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thurday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so you can go straight after work which is very hand. 

Our thanks to all at Taj for a super meal.

Open every day except Tuesday. 


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