Bengal Dynasty lunch at Wincham
PUBLISHED: 11:37 17 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:43 20 February 2013
For a taste of Bengal head to this quiet corner of Northwich
There are branches of the Bengal Dynasty Restaurant in Llandudno, where the first was established in 1988; in Shotton, founded 1991 and Hollywood. Yes, thats Hollywood USA not Bollywood. The Curry Palace, out there in West Sunset Boulevard was, apparently the first Balti House in Los Angeles and wins many plaudits.
It sits next door to an American version of a pub called Ye Coach and Horses, frequented, according to celeb spotters, by the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Drew Barrymore and several others. Hence the house rules: It is always important to remember that this is not a nightclub, this a bar. Gawking, pestering, or bothering other customers is severely frowned upon by the establishment. Calling the paparazzi is not cute, or even human.
Like its Californian cousin, the fourth Bengal Dynasty is located next door to a pub, indeed it shares the car park, though it goes without saying that the clientele of the Black Greyhound in Wincham near Northwich and the passing trade along Hall Lane will be a little less brash and flashy than their counterparts in La-La Land.
If the long, single-storey building at the back of the pub appears somewhat unprepossessing from without, the interior cuts a modern, very stylish impression with contemporary furnishings and light, airy atmosphere and a neat bar. Guests at Cheshire Lifes February luncheon were greeted by the restaurant chains senior executive director Mohammed Monchab Ali - and flutes of welcoming Bucks Fizz.
Its generally estimated that 85 per cent of the 8,000-plus Indian restaurants in the UK are in fact owned by people of Bangladeshi origin, though youd never twig it from the average curry-house menu with the usual raft of tandoori specialities (north west frontier); chicken Madras (south) and vindaloo (Goa). Mr Ali arrived in the UK from Bangladesh in 1982 and opened his first restaurant three years later in Rye, Sussex, before heading north. And while Bengal Dynasty menu nods in the direction of populist Indian dishes, head chef Partha Mittras culinary emphasis is on authentic food from Bangladesh and the neighbouring states of east India.
Our starters, served in the bar from trays as canaps, reflected this. Salmon paturi, small fillets of fish marinated in ground black mustard seeds and coconut milk before being sealed in banana leaf and baked, were succulent, deeply flavourful and quite different from the usual run of bahjis and somosas. Similarly, chicken chutney tikka, deliciously moist and tender, offered lovely subtle spicing rather than palate-blitzing heat from being marinated in a paste of coriander, mint, green chillies and mixed pickles before being grilled in a tandoor. The vegetable starters were appetisingly presented too, deftly fashioned aloo bonda spicy potato dumplings and nicely seasoned masala vegetable croquettes.
The main courses, for which we took our seats in the dining area, offered more of the chefs expertise with spicing. Makki-ka-murg comprised pieces of tender chicken breast in a mild creamy sauce made from ground corn kernels and Mewar-ka-maas, a delicacy from the Mewari region of Rajasthan, brought lamb in a sauce rich with aromatic spices, which, like the chicken, did not overpower either the red or white wine accompaniments. Gobhi Rajwadi, a side dish of cauliflower florets stir-fried with onions, mixed spices and mango powder was served alongside the curries with an attractive peas and coriander pulao.
We rounded off with aam satta, a homemade traditional Bengali ice cream made from mango pulp and fresh cream.
Cheshire Life Luncheon Menu
To start Chicken chutney tikka, salmon paturi, aloo bonda, masala vegetable croquette
To continue Makki-ka-murg, mewar-Ka-maas, Rajwadi gobi aloo, peas and coriander pulao
To finish Aam satta
Bengal Dynasty, Hall Lane, Wincham, Northwich CW9 6DG.
Tel: 01606 351597; www.bengaldynasty.com
Restaurant open Monday-Thursday and Saturday noon-2.30pm and 5.30pm11pm; Friday 5.30pm-11pm; Sunday noon-11pm.