Review: Curry Corner, Cheltenham

Curry Corner is just around the corner from the famous Cheltenham Banksy. Okay, famous in Cheltenham at least – there’s a gallery near us that offers canvas prints of the clever stenciled image of two shady GCHQ operatives apparently listening in on a telephone box, and get this, they’ll even photoshop in a picture of you inside the phone box! That’s an heirloom. An almighty furore kicked off recently when the owner of the dilapidated terrace house on whose gable end the Banksy was painted set out to have specialists remove the entire wall to sell for a no doubt six-figure sum to a collector somewhere. Interestingly the scaffold and boarding that he had put up around the work had itself attracted numerous expressions of fury and frustration in the form of more street art. I’m sure Banksy is chuffed that his own protest art has the capacity to generate its own protest art. Wheels within wheels!

Yeah, so about Curry Corner. It’s set innocuously in a residential side street well away from the middle of Cheltenham, but through the doors there’s a nicely brick red painted interior with mood-setting carved stonework art in niches and low lighting. Everything we’d seen and read, at least from the restaurant’s own material, suggested this would be fine dining Indian cuisine; closer to Lasan than Asha’s.

We began with a couple of lassis; mango and coconut, and raspberry. Both were tasty, though very sweet. We chose starters from the street food section. Mine was the Mangshor Kebab. This struck me as being a nicely seasoned lamb burger patty with a sweet tomato-y sauce and a small tomato and onion omelette draped over the top. A nice supper, but a bit big and a bit plain for a £7 starter. Maureen’s Roshun Gusht Luchi was better – a crispy cigar of shredded lamb with sharp, vinegary green relish and perhaps the same tangy tomato sauce.

I went for the signature main; the 48 hour lamb shank. This was a big lamb shank in a mighty curry. The meat was super. The depth of flavour in the sauce was nowt short of excellence, absolutely packed and with a rapidly growing heat on my tongue to testify to the chillies. I would have liked the cardamom and cinnamon to stand out more clearly but I was dead happy. An unusual accompaniment of mashed potato was okay but bread would’ve been better. And it was huge. Maureen’s was also a large dish, the duck Khatta Meeta Titol Haash. The sauce was very sweet, though the tamarind flavour was clear and strong. My biggest problem was the duck. Big, dense cubes of thoroughly cooked duck breast. BIG cubes. DENSE. What’s the point? Any inherent duckiness was pretty much gone. Great sauce though, and good rice.

Despite being stuffed I held out for a pudding of gulab jamun. This was a beauty, sticky and cardamomy with a very nice scoop of ice cream (so wish I’d tried their kulfis). We took a cup of masala chai, and I could taste the interesting addition of bay leaf but it was basically too weak in both spice and tea. Pity, as at least the milk was properly boiled which isn’t often done.

I struggled out, holding my distended stomach off the pavement and reflecting on a couple of things. Firstly, if Indian restaurants are going to start styling themselves as fine dining and thus persuading me that I should order three courses then they bloody well need to reduce their portion sizes! Secondly, at £21 for a typical main course (forget not the price of the rice!) this is actually an expensive meal. We’re talking £35 for three courses. And what this is definitely is not, is fine dining. It’s just a good curry with more of a nod to authenticity than most. So if you want to spend a lot of money for a good curry in Cheltenham, then may I propose to you: Curry Corner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>