Anyone who has found themselves walking down the high street in UK knows that it is not difficult to find Indian restaurant.Yet is quite amazing how tough it is to find good authentic Indian food. It has a lot to do with the segment it occupies in the food market in UK. It competes hard in the pizza and chip shop segment. Once that brand image has been established, it is very difficult for an Indian restaurant to deviate and deliver food with quality that pleases someone with a more sophisticated palette.
I have come across two notable exceptions. They are Inder’s Kitchen and Kayal.
Inder’s Kitchen is a new takeaway in Cambridge that is on everyone’s lips. The phone is often answered by Inder herself – a sassy woman with an attitude that is reflected in the food she delivers. The food is modern Indian, relatively healthy and cooked with all the subtleties that is lacking in food served in Indian restaurants across UK. The right blend of spices used with skills so that it imbues the food with flavour but does not overpower either your palette or your senses. I have ordered a number of times from her in the last year. Smartly dressed agents deliver the food one scooters bearing the logo of the company. Fortunately, she has never disappointed us till now.
Kayal feels more like a Swiss ski chalet than an Indian restaurant at first sight. Once you start looking, you notice the Indian touches including an Enfield motorcycle, which would fill anyone who has lived in the Sub-continent with a combination of wariness and nostalgia.
Kayal is an authentic Malyali (Kerala for the uninitiated) restaurant run by a Syrian Christian family. They do a fantastic lunch thali on weekdays for 5.95 GBP. The thali consists of three katoris of eclectic subzis and one non-vegetarian katori. There is rice along with couple of coconut chutneys. The plain dosa that accompanies the thali is the pure joy.
Kayal on also offers a sadya thali for 16.50 GBP. We tried the sadya thali on a very cold January evening this year. In Malyali (the language in this context), sadya means feast and a feast it was. The sadya thali entail a three course meal with around 15 dishes in all. The range of flavours and sensation were mind numbing. I struggled to eat even half of what was given to us. It is certainly something worth experiencing at least once. Even if you have to travel to Nottingham for that.
Kayal Nottingham | 8 Broad Street Nottingham NG1 3AL | 0115 941 4733
Inder’s Kitchen | 43 Clifton Road Cambridge CB1 7ED | 01223 211 333