Barlow Moor Road, Opposite the Southern Cemetery
Coriander is highly rated by quite a few folk and they’ve got quite a manifesto on their website, here’s an interesting quote:
“Most of the Bangladeshi/Indian restaurants around today are considered to be simply curry houses offering an adapted menu. The Coriander Restaurant is different. The management and staff have made great efforts in making dishes that implement original traditional recipes along with a healthy approach.”
My latest experience of this restaurant was certainly at odds with this description. The majority of the curries can be ordered with different meats as their main ingredient – meaning the meat was not cooked in the sauce from scratch. Also when I asked about traditional dishes I was pointed towards the Dopiaza/Balti section –‘All Time Classics’ apparently. And when I asked about meat on the bone I was directed to tandoori chicken – no curry had meat on the bone. Odd for a place priding itself on traditional Indian and Bangladeshi food.So in short the whole concept, menu and advice were baffling.
Right then, to the food. Actually pretty good – the chutneys, sauces and whatnot served with the starters and poppadoms were excellent and different with tamarind, raw red onion, chilli and coriander all present. The pakora were crisp without being oily, seekh kebabs decent if unremarkable and king prawns beautifully butterflied and perfectly cooked – although £6.20 for 2 was steep. Perhaps it was psychological but the food here tasted just a bit more wholesome, being less salty and oily and just that little bit different from the usual Pakistani food. With more fruity, citrusy notes and a lot less ghee. There was also noticeably more attention to presentation, if you care about that sort of thing.
The main courses were pretty good too – I went for ‘Grandmother’s Beef’, a seemingly traditional one pot type dish – pretty much the only one I could find. It was fine if unremarkable, perhaps the lack of fat used here finally told with the slightly dry stewed beef, although it had good flavour of coconut and the chana daal was well cooked. My companion had Royal Bengal Sea Fish Curry, which was a essentially a selection of Sea Food in a pretty silly, sweetish, coconutty type sauce, it was well cooked and tasty but a far cry from the traditional stuff we’d hoped for. Tarka daal, rice and chapatti were all fine if unremarkable. Which leads me on to portion size – Experience had reminded me that the portions weren’t massive here so two of us ended up ordering: 3 starters, 2 mains, one side dish of daal, with 2 rice and 2 chapatti. Now possibly we’re fat gits, but we don’t do this anywhere else. A pint each (Bangla Beer was a welcome change from Cobra and Kingfisher) brought the bill to £52 – so OK, we had 2 fish dishes and a few more sundries than usual, but is still rather expensive.
Coriander provided one of the most ‘clean feeling’ curry experiences I’ve had. I was well fed but not bloated or leaden, so perhaps there’s something in their healthy approach – do read their ‘Background and Objectives’, it’s a pretty entertaining read. The food was tasty and well presented, the refurb is nice and quite understated, the place is clean and the staff attentive if not all that helpful on this occasion. But more attention to a cohesive menu and dishes therein would help, as would a bit more consistency with portion size and pricing. Definitely an enjoyable meal but yet again I wouldn’t unreservedly recommend it.