Going out for a curry on a Saturday night is about as British as you can get. Whilst things, politically at the moment are feeling a little fraught, this islands ability to embrace and consume the food of other countries and even adopt it as our own has always brought a tear to our eye. Tikka Masala, although delicious and invented for our taste, is only a snapshot of our love affair with spices and flavours from the Indian continent. Read on for some of our recommendations for authentic Indian dishes, fancy Indian plates and traditional curry houses to spice up your Saturday or any day of your week.
Dhamaka are passionate about street food, but appreciate that the British weather isn’t always the most reasonable when it comes to alfresco dining so they have brought the experience inside with their new restaurant. Here you won’t find kormas, masalas and bhunas but warm bowls of dhal, crispy chaats and succulent meat on the bone taken from their inhouse clay oven. To add to an already exciting menu, Dhamaka also give customers a few Indo-Chinese options to try, in the form of plenty of fried things covered in a punchy garlic and chilli sauce, delicious!
Stepping inside Thali’s first Bristol restaurant in Montpelier is a glorious experience, the smell of spices hits you as well as the beautiful and vibrant interior giving you a sense of the sort of flavours you are about to enjoy. Unsurprisingly Thali serves just that, thali! A segmented dish with each part filled with a portion of vegetables, meat, chutney and rice. The authentic Indian flavours are borrowed from all over the continent and expertly put together by Thali’s resident head chefs Ramesh & Asha, and presented to give customers the greatest chance of trying something new whilst knowing they have something familiar to try too. One of our favourites is the Braised lucknowi lamb, cooked until tender and served in a stew of tomatoes and spices.
Nutmeg is Bristol’s answer to Southeast Asian fine dining and we couldn’t be happier to have them! You won’t find the flock wallpaper and bright red tikka masala here (and there is nothing wrong with these, we are big fans!) but instead a rich mural on the wall featuring and very colourful peacock, wine glasses on the table and a modern menu that takes inspiration from all corners of India. Pick from either their sumptuous a la carte menu or let them do the driving with their revolving set menu that focuses on a different district each month that also comes with a tried and tested wine flight that really elevates the experience. From Goa to Gujarat, you will find something exciting that you’ve never tried before to enjoy in an opulent setting that would rival any of the other fine dining restaurants in Bristol.
A hidden gem on Bedminster Parade, you could be forgiven for not hearing about this restaurant before. Mayur Renukdas and his wife opened Ganesha 11 years ago whilst holding down full time jobs and their hardwork has paid off. You can find all sorts of dishes here but the focus is on the south of the continent, famous for its fish and prawn dishes as well as some of the fine vegetable curries. Again, you won’t find the anglicised dishes here, but a real love letter to the food they call home prepared freshly with expert staff ready to help you with your order if you’re not sure. The decor will transport you away as you sit surrounded by velvet red curtains, gold ornaments and their famous elephant head, the mascot of the restaurant. The Goan fish masala is definitely a dish to try if you haven’t already with plenty of bread for mopping!