Hands down, my favourite part of any Indian meal is the condiments. Masala Darbar doesn’t disappoint in that regard.
The coconut chutney that comes with the Mysore Masala dosa is something I’ve never had before, and a perfect pairing for this thin crepe rolled around a spicy potato filling. The dosa also comes with Sambaar – spiced lentils in a tamarind broth. There are loads of different types of dosa to choose from if you’re cutting the carbs.
The cucumber salsa on the side of the onion bhaji is a cooling accompaniment to this great starter snack (though when I say snack, the serving size is huge!).
There are so many different ways to make raita - the yoghurt and cucumber condiment served with many curries. At Masala Darbar, the raita is sweet, with carrot, cucumber, onion and tomato, set off with chaat masala spice. It accompanies the stand-out dish of the night: the Malabar Prawn Curry. This is a dish from the south based on coconut cream, and is thick, mildly spiced and warming. The raita just cuts through perfectly, and when you push it all onto some garlic naan (which is the perfect balance of crisp on the edges and soft in the middle) it’s not long before you’re back for more. The Palak Paneer (a northern style cheese and spinach dish) is a little spicy, but again, balanced out with that delicious raita. The beauty is that all of these dishes work so well together – and I didn’t mind mixing them all up with a few final swipes of naan.
Masala Darbar is a family owned restaurant, and the family brings their experience of having lived in many parts of India to the kitchen. The menu is extensive, and covers both north and southern style dishes. Most people do go for the butter chicken and the chicken tikka, but it’s really great to try something new in Indian cuisine, and the staff were really helpful in making recommendations.
So next time you’re thinking of ordering your stock standard Indian online…put some pants on* and get down to Masala Darbar for a chat, a generous feed, and maybe a new discovery.
*Don’t worry they also deliver through all the usual interweb food portals.