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Posts Tagged ‘Take-aways’

Right then, hands up if you can name the country: a 30-year civil war that ended in 2009? The British occupied it during the Napoleonic Wars. Anyone? Pearl of the Indian Ocean. Temple of the tooth. Colombo (not him). Well?  I’d kinda hoped it was only me that had spent 43 years missing out on Sri Lanka, but it appears that you might need educating too. Luckily for us, the amazing Paul (Mr Riz) is here to edify. My first lesson came one Friday in October, when we stepped into his unique Cliftonville classroom. Since then we’ve returned on six occasions and have tried 23 dishes from undoubtedly the most interesting menu in Thanet. I’ve heard it said often about Asian restaurants that if the people of that country are eating there, it must be a good sign. I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to use that cliché in Cliftonville, but I can say that I’ve already spotted Margate’s Queens of Pizza, the entire staff of Broadstairs’ best restaurant and the Isle’s only real food critic dialling in a take-away (Paul does home tutorials too). As his star pupil, might I propose you try the gobi manchurian; chilli paneer, monkfish curry; Ceylon chicken; duck chettinadu and please, please, make sure you order the mutton string hoppers (despite how they sound). The breads are brilliant (especially the paratha), the rice remarkable and the dosas divine. However if you’re not one of life’s decision makers, do what I do and put yourself in Paul’s nurturing hands.  He really can do no wrong.

49 Northdown Road, Margate, Kent, CT9 2RN, 01843 293698.

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I’ve no idea what a Pilgrim’s annual mileage was, but as I battled with Canterbury’s early evening traffic my empathy for them was the only thing flowing around the ring road. Fortunately the Promised Land awaiting me in North Lane drove me onwards. I had one goal: curry. More precisely, the curries, nectars and assorted paraphernalia created by the Ancient Raj chefs. I use the term ‘chefs’ loosely, as ‘gods’ could easily replace it. We’d been lucky enough to eat here a fortnight earlier at the behest of two lovely friends. On that glorious evening the Cobras bit hard, and as such I wondered the next day whether I’d imagined the whole thing. Could it have been that good? Every dish on the money. Excellent service. Great value. There was only one way to find out – I rebooked. As we all know only too well, things are never as good as the first time, so, as we crossed their low-beamed threshold, I prayed that a little cumin-covered miracle might come our way. It did, in the quite unexpected form of a pianist. Now if I was picking an accompaniment to curry there’s a fair chance it would be cold and alcoholic not warm and melodic, but, rather surprisingly, the music hit the spot too, adding another layer to our remarkable experience in the process. We chomped our way, 4:4 time, through flawless papadams that lay happily beneath the customary trinity of chutneys, but which jostled to be smothered in the seldom-seen coconut one (a rose-tinted favourite I discovered 25 years ago in a South Norwood curry house). We quickly dismantled an entire pot of this ruddy ambrosia before running headlong into the mains.  I basked in the Duck Xacuti (breast of Barbary duck in a harmonious massala sauce flavoured with star anise, fenugreek, chilli and coconut), which was one of the loveliest things I’ve tasted in ages. My recently vegetarianized wife (I know) picked out the vegetable biryani and was very glad she did so. We also enjoyed the peshwari nan, special rice, saag paneer and some onion bhajis, all of which left us both more than happy. They quickly cleared our dishes away and returned with the dessert menu. Never being one to waste space on such trivial things, I returned to the menu proper and ran an accumulating finger over the lines. There were still ninety or so dishes that I hadn’t yet tried. Hmmm. There was only one thing for it, I thanked God for capacity and ordered lots more. So why not trek on over and catch up on this pilgrim’s progress, I could be here a while.

25-26 North Lane, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7EE, 01227 455882.

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I’ve always loved exploring. As a child my Dad pretending to get lost on a country drive excited more than my Atari ever could. Not knowing what lay ahead made me into an adventurer. Thirty or so years on I still get that same feeling, it’s just harder to find- ironically, now we’ve got GPS. I guess this means that new discoveries have an increased impact on me, and maybe that’s why this week I’m writing about Westgate. How did I miss it? Has it been there long? Have Thanet District Council been hiding it? What a place. I think I may be falling in love: it’s got an independent cinema. A station at its heart, so I can come and go as I please. There’s Angelo’s Deli that bakes fresh bread. I can learn to line dance at the Westgate Pavilion. The people are welcoming and the property represents remarkable value. But more than anything, there’s the Regency Tandoori. It may have taken 6 months of living in Thanet to find a take-away that I truly enjoy, but it was worth the wait. The King Prawn Dhansak, Chicken Pathia, Vegetable Korma, Sag Paneer and Onion Bhajis were some of the best I’ve tasted. The Peshwari naan could have done with being 50% bigger but then I’m a greedy git. The staff were friendly, our food good value and the throng of take-away customers would suggest that most of Westgate’s residents are patrons. I say we quash this conspiracy to keep it to themselves and tell the rest of Thanet about my amazing discovery. Spread word of Regency Tandoori (7th Wonder of Westgate) to everyone that will listen. Be sure to tell them not to pop down on a Saturday though as I’d rather nobody came between me and my new found treasure.

9 Station Road, Westgate-on-Sea, Kent, CT8 8RB, 01843 831412.

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