In recent weeks, the Montague Street Indian’s chef won a national award, so it seemed a fitting time to place an order, writes Oli Poole.
It was an early Christmas miracle, too, when my partner, for the first time, agreed to try my favourite cuisine. It only took two-and-a-half years!
Things got off to a smooth start when we phoned through our order and popped down to collect our food, which took just 20 minutes.
We started with a portion of chicken tikka (£3.50), which in terms of portion size appeared to be a curry in its own right and, surprisingly, enough for both of us.
Sizeable, tender chunks of chicken were well balanced with a generous supply of onion and side salad, and while you will never get the sizzling theatre of cooking onions from a take-away as you would in a restaurant, we were suitably impressed with the dish.
With an extensive array of special dishes, we decided to sample one of Mahaan’s signatures and a curry classic for our mains.
After much deliberation, I opted for basha prawns (£15.45) and the first-time curry eater opted for a safe chicken kurma (£5.70).
We finished-off the main course with portions of pilaw rice (£2.50), plain rice (£2.25), and garlic and peshwari naans (both £2.45).
And, I have to say, Mahaan’s chef delivered on each and every one.
What struck me first about the basha prawns, which were served in a hot and spicy sauce, was the size of them.
Almost as big as the chicken pieces in the starter, the prawns were thick, meaty and plentiful in number.
The sauce will please those who like it medium hot and hot, with the sauce itself packing a bit of a kick, but when you factor in the little green chillies the dish becomes explosively fiery.
My coconut-filled peshwari naan was predictably generously-filled, and acted as an effective cooling mechanism when I accidently swallowed one of the chillies.
Meanwhile, my partner’s chicken kurma also went down well.
She reported the chicken to be similarly tender and even larger in size compared to the chicken tikka starter, swimming in a mild, creamy sauce.
The garlic naan also got the thumbs up.
It is great to have special dishes on the menu, but if the restaurant cannot get the basics right, then it is not worth sampling.
I am pleased to say there were no such problems with Mahaan – an excellent choice for an end-of-the-week treat. The only improvement we could make to the take-away system was that while Mahaan’s restaurant, and online ordering facility, had all the dishes on it, they were lacking a description. With so many unique dishes, it would have been almost impossible to choose had we not found a menu in the bottom of the drawer. Take-away and table bookings: 01903 205449.