Sunday, 8 September 2013

Auntie Naan: definitely an improvement

Before Auntie Naan (what a name!) opened there was only one option for spice on Broadway. Joy. It may well have been called Misnomer. Recommended by a friend of a friend from whom no further recommendations were sought. It served the worst food I have ever eaten.  It was like they had established an Indian restaurant based solely on Tesco club card points and a microwave, by someone who was quite happy to take your money and then smirk. Everything about the place was utterly awful.

So you can imagine my scepticism when Joy closed down and a new Indian "concept" restaurant popped up in its place. Was this the old place with the same owners, but with a lick of paint and some trendy old beaten up furniture?  It is entirely possible it is, I forgot to ask.  But, if it is, you can rest assured that more thought has been put into a single dish at this re-opening than the entire menu at Joy. It's all Indian-British fusion - spicy fish fingers, "Bombay" wedges and a few samosas, bhajis and curries thrown in for food measure. I was intrigued enough to give it another shot.

First to the five stars, you walk in and feel like you are on holiday. Roughly sawn wooden floors and walls, brightly painted chairs and tables, a superb outside garden area and a generous helping of random Indian signs. It may not be like the cafes I have experienced in India, but in this case that is a positive. Someone has clearly spent a long time working out how this place will look.

Turning to the food, it is a mixed bag. The onion bhajis are things of splendour - sweet onion, crispy on the outside with a hit of fresh chili, I could have munched a whole bag of these. The wedges and samosas were fine (if a little toned down), but both needed more crisp - a little anaemic, I suspect they were rather hastily warmed up.

I liked the idea of the fish fingers, but the crumb needed more spice and the fish inside was slightly overcooked.  Minor points, but the difference between fine and good. Nothing really to right home about. What was exceptional was the curried mayo which came alongside - sweet and sour with a hit of tamarind, this was no ordinary mayo.

The only real let down was the chaat salad - a mixture of chickpea, radish and cucumber. With just a little lime, chili and seasoning this could have been the perfect accompaniment to the rest - as it was, it was just a little underwhelming.

So no more Joy. But happiness instead. The food won't blow you away, but it's not bad.  Auntie Naan brings something different to Broadway - some fresh flavours and a great new place to meet with friends for something light to eat.

Update (23 September 2013): having only been open for some three weeks, Auntie Naan has shut down (well at least it is closed at the moment for what appears to be a name rebrand).

Auntie Naan on Urbanspoon

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