An evening of quality Bangladeshi cuisine.
“Whoa, slow down Midge you’re going far too fast, you’ll have to explain that to me again”
When people are passionate about what they do, it’s really hard for them not to try to tell you everything all at once. And all in one breath. If I was to put together a restaurant menu with dishes, some traditional, some handed down by eminent chefs and some of my own creations, I think I would be eager to tell you about them as I presented them at the table.
Well Midge Mannan at Jeera, on Crich Market Place is of that ilk. He’s so proud of his heritage as understudy, from the age of fifteen, to Mr Rahman who, in my opinion was one of Derbyshire’s best at delivering quality Bangladeshi cuisine. Sadly he passed away about ten years ago but what he taught Midge (nephew of Mr Rahman) still lives on in passion for product, desire to create flavours and the need to please discerning diners.
In contrast, the week before we ate at a restaurant whereby the waitress brought our starters, plonked them down with basically a “that’s what you ordered and now you’ve got attitude”. Not good enough. Midge in contrast whisked us through the content of dishes, how they were flavoured some of which not only were traditional dishes but also had a few twists of Spanish and Italian in them.
When Midge had established what we liked and didn’t like, he shot off to the kitchen to explain to the chefs what he wanted to present us with. There was a good buzz in the restaurant which, being situated in the centre of Crich, attracts customers from far and wide. Crich Market Place is always busy and very much a travel to place, so if you enjoy something, you will go back for it again and that is the crux of Jeera’s customers and why at the weekend they can serve up to five hundred meals. Personally I prefer midweek eating, as places tend to be a little quieter and you get chance to chat and nail your exact meal, and also have the chance for Midge to explain what he’s prepared for you.
It’s not been an easy road though. It takes time to build up a solid team and a good reputation with regular clientele and then hold onto them. I’ve sometimes felt that in the food industry restaurants generally get “one shot” at impressing us. Fail and we are off in search of pastures new. This was Midges chance to impress and boy did he do us proud when for a full three hours we tucked into some delicious food. “You’ll have to write down all we’ve had Midge because I’ll never remember it” I said. I was so busy enjoying it and talking to my dining companions Terry, and Mike.
I’m not unaccustomed to this type of cuisine but I was surprised to discover some very tasty new dishes to add to my favourites list. The Lamb Bengal special, lamb cooked with green beans and eggs on top, was so succulent that the dish emptied at a rapid pace. I was worried that the Chicken naga (hot naga chillies cooked buna style) may be a little too spicy for me but no that was spot on and again proved a favourite. I was tipped off about this dish by Paul at Costcutter who said “Ask Midge to do it Desi style”
We trusted Midge to just present us with a showcase of their food. So here’s how Midge presented and filled two tables for the four of us.
Fish tandoor, Naga wings, Chef’s mixed grill, Mushroom purée,
‘Character’ chickpea purée.
Chicken Jalali; a vibrantly colourful dish with yoghurt, mint and lemon.
Lamb Karachi; sizzling authentic dish with onion and peppers.
Zamora Goan special with Bangladeshi peppers; cooked dry and dressed with sliced potato.
Lamb Bengal special; lamb cooked with green beans and topped with crispy edged fried eggs.
Chicken naga; hot naga chillies cooked bhuna style.
Lemon rice, Pilau rice.
Garlic and Coriander naan (cooked properly in a tandoor oven).
Four of us couldn’t beat it. If you’d have seen how much delicious food was on our table you’d understand why.
Here’s a comment from one of our dining friends; “The fish tandoori starter was succulent and beautifully presented. All the starters were complemented by puri bread. Zamora Goan was beautifully spiced without being too hot and the naan was deliciously fresh. Overall the chefs provided an excellent balanced meal. It was interesting to try authentic, regional Bangladeshi foods, as opposed to those adapted to the English palate.”
Meet the team.
Last but not least here is the team that can make you a great dining evening;
Owners: Midge Mannan and Mislo Mannan
Head Chef: Abul Kashem (trained by Mr Rahman). Tandoori Chef: Suruk Miah.
Our thanks to you all for making us so welcome.
Note: You will need to take your own alcohol but then again there is Costcutter next door!