Eateries on Prince of Wales Road frequently cater to late night revellers, but pick your time and classy new Indian restaurant Chutney is more relaxed than you'd expect. SIMON PARKIN paid a visit.
Amid the kebab and burger takeaways, any restaurant on Norwich's Prince of Wales Road has a tricky balance to strike — catering to the ready market of late night revellers who flock to the street, while at the same time not putting off general diners looking for a quiet meal.
With no short of options away from club land, it is not a dining destination that had particularly appealed to me in the past — not in a sober state anyway.
However passing Chutney restaurant and grill, the latest addition to the long list of mainly takeaways lining the street, we were encouraged to pay a visit. This new Indian looked appealing — bright, modern and seemingly aiming for than merely serving up late night curry.
Owner Mohammed Ali has previously run restaurants mainly on the outskirts and also runs an Indian restaurant takeaway near the Heartsease pub roundabout, but this is his first venture in the city centre.
His restaurant is housed in premises that were formerly a takeaway, a fish and chip shop, and, before that, an estate agent and architect. Before Mr Ali took it on, it had been closed for several years and boarded-up, so what he has done to transform it is quite impressive.
It is very much at the slick and modern end of the Indian restaurant spectrum. A vibrant lime green colour scheme is offset with red placemats and napkins and some brightly coloured paintings on the walls. It's not understated, but the surroundings are very pleasant and the leather chairs very comfortable.
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Mr Ali said the restaurant offers a healthier approach to Indian cooking, serving a mix of Bengali and Punjabi cuisine. As you'd expect the menu offers the usually selection of favourites you'd find in any Indian — Balti, Rogan Josh, Jalfrezi, Vindaloo etc — but there is more interesting fare to be found too. Regional specialities include Jale Jale, a Bengal dish with hot peppers, garlic and ginger; Tapeli, which see meat barbecued than cooked Bombay-syle; and Exotic Malai, a fruity Bangladeshi dish that includes ghee, lychees, pineapple and mango — a sort of curried fruit salad.
The menu also includes lots of grilled dishes and a heavy emphasis on Tandoori.
After papadums and pickles that were exactly as you picture them, we ordered Chicken Rezala (�7.50), a Bangladeshi creamed curry with garlic and green peppers; and Tamarind Lamb (�7.50), a traditional dish from Hyderabad.
The former was delicious with beautifully cooked chicken and just the right blend of flavour and spice. The lamb was tender but a tad dry and we were pleased we had a side order of Sag Aloo (�2.75). Both were enlivened by the very fragrant pilau rice and a garlic naan that packed a mighty strong flavour.
Not having paid a late night visit I can't vouch for what it is like when the club-going hordes descend — busy and noisy would be my guess. But when we dined early on a Saturday evening it had a nice relaxed vibe and very friendly service. A very pleasant surprise.
Prince of Wales Road
Open: Mon-Sun 5pm-12pm
Prices: Starters from �2.50, speciality dishes from �7.50, curry dishes from �5.95, grill dishes from �8.95
Vegetarian options: Lots
Wheelchairs access: Yes