They’re in every town centre and sometimes have the same names; that’s Indian restaurants. Somercotes is no exception. At the side of the parish church, on what remains of the Market Place, is the Curry Lounge; an independent restaurant, owned and skillfully managed by Ukeel.
Susan and myself visited the Curry Lounge on a Saturday evening and despite it being a busy weekend there was plenty of room to park close by, without having to cross a busy road. We arrived by taxi and were dropped off at the door. As we entered the foyer we were surprised and impressed by the light, contemporary décor and layout of the interior. Traditional icons, combined with a dedicated colour palate, have been used with a light touch to create a welcoming space that wouldn’t look out of place in a modern city centre restaurant.
The seating in the restaurant isn’t cramped and the layout allows them to accommodate a large party very easily. Once we were comfortably seated Ukeel guided us through the menu and made a few recommendations.
The Curry Lounge serves an excellent array of soft drinks but doesn’t have a liquor license. However, you can take your own; which in some ways is a good thing. If you have a favourite wine or beer, you can bring it along. You won’t have to put up with an alternative. We chose a dry Riesling style wine from Austria: Grüner Veltliner 2017. It’s a classy, crisp dry wine and makes an interesting alternative to a good Sauvignon Blanc; the colour of fresh straw with a hint of gooseberries and green apple smell. The well balanced acidity and citrus flavours make it an ideal accompaniment to Indian spices.
The smartly dressed, attentive waiters never missed a beat; replacing cutlery when needed and asking if we’d like to keep the sauce boat of raita on the table after we’d finished our crispy poppadoms. The trio of poppadom accompaniments: a tomato and onion, a mango and a lime chutney were all spicy and smooth. A pleasant prelude to a spicy dinner.
For her starter Susan chose the vegetable samosas. There are samosas where the pastry is too thick but these triangular shaped thin pastry cases filled with a mildly spiced mixture of finely diced vegetables allowed the filling to be star of the show. The raita, left over from our appetiser, was not out of place with the pastry parcels.
Ukeel had recommended that I try one of the sea food dishes. I selected the Curry Lounge’s own recipe starter; a fillet of moist white fish, that had retained all its flavour, gently cooked in a dusting of spiced flour and accompanied by a dash of that raita.
On our way to the Curry Lounge Susan had said that she’d like to try a main dish other than chicken. One of the restaurant’s signature dishes is a lamb pasanda and so, Sue chose it as her main. The creamy pasanda sauce, made with combination of cream or yoghurt, spices, raisins and nuts, coated the tender, diced lamb and made the dish spicy and smooth with a sweet, fruity note.
I’m a big fan of spinach; either raw in a salad or, as in this case, used to flavour and thicken a dish. That’s why I chose the house favourite: the Deshi Delight. This consisted of large pieces of chicken that had been marinated in a yoghurt and spice sauce (similar to a tandoori marinade) served in a hot, but not fierce, sauce of chickpeas and spinach. The chicken was tender and moist and the sauce lived up to its billing delivering spice, texture and clean flavours.
To go with our mains we wanted to try a bit of everything. So, we ordered only one portion of rice plus a garlic and coriander naan, that was warm, moist and beautifully blistered, and a dish of Bombay aloo, fluffy potatoes in a mildly spiced tomato sauce.
Saturday is a busy time for any restaurant and the Curry Lounge buzzed with conversation and guests moving in and out. This contributed to making our enjoyable evening so memorable. A big ‘thank you’ to Ukeel and his staff for a relaxed evening and wonderful Indian food.