Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Chutney, Wandsworth Town

The tables were turned and my cousin and aunt were now visiting London.  A relaxed evening was in order and walking to the East Hill, a lovely pub on Alma Road, we passed The Chutney.  I have eaten here twice before, once with my cousin in fact, and have had an average experience each time.  She, however, raved about it and its great choice of vegetarian options.  As neither of my fellow diners eat meat I agreed to give it another go.  We popped our heads in and reserved a table for 8.30.

The interior is fresh and modern: blood red walls and leather chairs with crisp clean white tablecloths.  We were led to a circular table set for four and they hurriedly removed a setting.  'They could have done that before we arrived' remarked my aunt.  I agree: it is so easy for places to get the details right, I am always surprised at how many don't.  To start we had a poppadom each, served with very tasty chutneys and raita. I noticed we were the only table without a vase of sparse carnations.

It was only when we had finished these, and half a bottle of wine, that we noticed noone had yet taken our order for main courses.  When side plates were cleared a waiter appeared with a pad and we selected.  I went for chicken korma razala (I reasoned that if my previous more adventurous meals had not been excellent, perhaps this simpler dish would win me over), my aunt for handi subje (seasonal mixed vegetables cooked with pepper, tomato, ginger and ground spices) and my cousin for vegetable jalfrezi.  The korma was very good, the sauce was creamy and coconutty but didn't overwhelm the tender pieces of meat.  My only complaint would be that it was a bit too runny.  The pilau rice too was lovely and not too dry as it often is.  The handi subje was raved about - lots of gorgeous veg in a flavoursome sauce - and likewise the jalfrezi which was quite spicy but not too much so.  The vegetarian options on the menu were apparently the best they had ever seen in an Indian restaurant.  The naan was soft, fluffy and not at all greasy.

Our tap water was constantly refreshed and the service was very polite.  Despite a slow start we had a great evening and agreed it is always better to have a bit of chatting time than the courses arriving seconds apart (which was another previous experience of mine at The Chutney).  It has redeemed itself, and I'll be back.

Poppadoms, one course and half a bottle of wine: £17 a head

Value: 8/10

Service: 7/10

Atmosphere: 7/10

Food: 7/10

SCORE: 29/40

The Chutney, 11 Alma Road, London, SW18 1AA.  Tel: 020 88704588.

No comments: