Passage to Anstey

We were treated to a £50 meal at Passage To India, our local Indian restaurant, thanks to the lovely people at Mongoose Premium Beer. Despite having had a very long week at work already, I decided to put my gladrags on, so I could stop complaining I never have an opportunity to get dressed up. After posing with the Comping Kitten for a typically blurry photo thanks to my lovely hubby, we headed out on the 25 minute walk across the fields to get to the restaurant.

The Passage To India is a small place, laid out in a slightly weird L shaped dining room, which sort of feels like you are going to find it hard to attract the waiter’s attention if you’re hidden away around the corner! The welcome is always friendly, although one guy was serving drinks and another taking a takeaway order over the phone when we arrived so it took a little while for someone to have the opportunity to seat us.

It always does my head in slightly when you get asked what you want to drink when you’ve barely even got into your seat, so I appreciate it that at least when you request a minute to look at the drinks menu, the waiter complies! We were drinking beer (of course!) and it was cold and fizzy, just as you want a nice pint of lager to be. No complaints there and at £2.95 a pint, the price is about level, if not slightly cheaper than most of the local pubs, which makes a nice change for a restaurant environment.

We ordered, after a long debate… It was nice to really have the run of the menu and £50 for two goes a very long way in PTI. We decided to try the starter platter for 2 to begin. At £7.50 this is just slightly more than buying a starter each and gives you a chance to try a few things. All of the bits were meat based – chicken tikka, a tandoori chicken drummer, a piece of kebab etc. There was one piece of marinaded lamb which was really quite tough and the chicken drummer was really quite small and I found it to be quite gristly on the ends, although my husband got it down him! It was all served with a salad, some lemon wedges and a small bowl of a lemony dressing, which was all very pleasant. It would have been nice to have a couple of bhaji’s or pakora on there, but what we were given was totally edible!

For our mains, we ordered a Chicken Pasanda (a mild, sweet and creamy cashew nut sauce), a Mixed Rogan Josh (lamb, chicken and prawn in tomatoey, oniony sauce) and a Lamb Sagwalla (a spinach sauce – my favourite!). To go with this we had a portion of pilau rice and a chapatti each.

All of the curries were really excellent. We were accidentally brought a Chicken Sagwalla, when we had ordered lamb – but the waiter was happy to immediately sort out a replacement of the correct dish. The Lamb Sagwalla was extremely tender and flavourful. The Pasanda was a new choice with us and a real hit! Served with a whirl of cream and some flaked almonds on top (slightly weird since it was supposed to be cashews in the sauce!!) this was sweet and delicious although extremely rich! I think that having a whole one of these to yourself would probably make you very sick!! The Rogan Josh was also very tasty, no complaints there apart from the usual problem of the prawns being a bit tiny and tough. Show me a curry where that doesn’t happen though and I’ll be very happy! The rice was just want you expect from a pilau, delicately flavoured and a great vehicle for the other sauces. The chapatti was very good – a very decent size and not at all greasy, which made a nice change. I think chapatti is much more preferable than nan as it is easier to pick your curry up with and a lot less filling!

Surprise, surprise, we couldn’t eat everything, so they kindly made the leftovers into a doggy bag for us! And a very fancy bag it was too! None of your boring blue carrier bag here! After a complimentary shot of Tia Maria, we stumbled back across the fields to home, slightly tipsy, very fat but ultimately very happy!


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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