I probably visited more curry houses than any other type of restaurants and yet I never reviewed any. Why?
Would it be because, frankly I can't be bothered to bring you, reviews which look like an accountant inventory, places where the food is fine but there is nothing to write about.
Of course, I review my own trial and tribulations from my own kitchen but when eat out I expect more. Don't get me wrong, in Greenwich we have a few good curry houses (a few bad one too).
However, I have yet to taste "a-nudge-above-the-rest-dish" in an Indian local. A dish which will make me go, "Hmmm, I wonder what's in there" a dish where "The flavours are intriguing and delicious enough so that I can take them back home to my kitchen."
So when we "tubed it" to sample The Bengal Tiger's dishes, I wasn't expecting much more than a business-like version of my locals. It, being situated in the City.
And that would have been fine. I was certainly not expecting "Duck Tikka Tandoori", for the good reason that I have never seen a duck dish in an Indian restaurant. Seriously, I have missed something there, though, Indian restaurants menus can be very long and this goes for the Bengal Tiger too.
And that is what differentiate The Bengal Tiger from a local curry house: Within the long list of tandooris, baltis, kormas and more there are a few intriguing dishes which make you want to come back for another helping.
But it doesn't work for everybody, His paneer starter was "OK", the main signature dish Sikandari Raan (slow pot roast lamb shank with aromatic herbs and spices) was "good". Not over-complimentary adjectives so I was under the distinct impression that the flavours wouldn't follow him to our kitchen and that he would eat here again only if he was in the area.
Let's go back to my own choice of dishes and move on to the main, a pre-historic looking Pomfret. Pomfret doesn't appear very often on menus and this is quite a treat. Pomfret flesh is a flat fish with a central bone, therefore deboning it, isn't a big deal, think sea-bream. It's a fish which benefited from being cooked fresh, perfect for the Bengal Tiger kitchen where " All food is freshly cooked to order".
A few more things in no particular order: The dessert menu though we didn't sample takes you back to the 70's and that is really fun. Then, the staff is genuinely friendly, this shouldn't have to be said, but far too often, I think that waiters in Indian restaurants have been trained in a Parisian school of hospitality.
The decor is rather striking. There is a bar and a good wine list at resonable prices. When it comes to the bill, a meal will probably cost 20% more than at any local curry-house's but then not many of us dwell in the shadow of St Paul's.
Disclosure : we enjoyed this meal as guests of the Bengal Tiger
62 Carter Lane
City of London,
(020) 7248 6361