Okay, so I’m going to share with you possibly one of my biggest food secrets.
You know how everyone has that one restaurant they like to keep to themselves? Somewhere that’s just so good, you’re scared to rave about it in case getting a reservation suddenly becomes a tighter squeeze than your skinny jeans after a weekend of indulgence?
Well…I’ve been selfish for long enough.
Let me introduce you to a personal favourite of mine; Gatley Tandoori.
Now, I promise I’m not exaggerating when I say that they serve up some of the most authentic, classic Indian dishes I’ve ever tasted (and many others too judging by the snaking queue from the takeaway which prominently takes up Gatley village nightly).
Don’t get me wrong, this won’t be the fanciest restaurant you’ve ever dined in – but the food is excellent, it’s BYOB and the servers will do everything in their power to give you the most joyous and delicious experience you’ve ever had.
Sounds pretty great right?
And I’ve barely even started!
One of my best friends and I booked in at Gatley Tandoori for Saturday evening, this place has been around since 1991 and has had myself and Emma hooked for many a year. Normally we opt for take-out (eating your own body weight in poppadom’s is a hella lot easier in pyjamas), but this time decided to dine in to treat ourselves and to celebrate nothing in particular…just each other!
Settling in at our usual table, we ordered poppadoms with the works as we mulled over the menu.
“4 poppadoms each please, and plenty of mango chutney.”
“4? Are you sure?”
We were very sure.
I don’t know what it is about poppadoms, but I could be happy eating them alone for days along with a trough of their sweetly tangy chutney which is piled on until the dom meets near breaking point.
We chatted and gossiped as though we hadn’t only just seen each other the day before, ploughing through our standard starter selection as if they were about to be snatched from under our noses.
We did slow down temporarily however to place our main order.
Nothing too out of the ordinary here, Gatley Tandoori specialise in the classics and it feels almost criminal to stray from your absolute favourites.
We plumped for a Chicken Tikka Masala and Chicken Pasander.
Forget Starsky and Hutch, Sonny and Cher, Bert and Ernie…
This is the real duo of dreams.
Although they’d be nothing without their supporting acts.
Mushroom and Pilau rice, a soft chapati to create a deliciously naughty curry-burrito hybrid.
A buttery garlic naan, for dipping purposes.
And Tikka Lamb Chops, just for kicks.
Did you ever see a more perfect line up?
The Pasander is a mild yet luxurious dish, with tender chunks of chicken basking in a gorgeously thick sauce, lightly spiced and flavoured with almonds for a softly sweet aftertaste.
It marries perfectly with the soft textures of mushroom rice and makes one filthy burrito.
Hug it together, and eat it like no one’s watching (as I so regularly do).
The Tikka Masala roasts generous chunks of chicken in a creamy spiced and pleasingly bright orange sauce.
The mixture of yogurt and spices with tomato creates a rich and comforting flavour which softens the roasted bites of marinated chicken.
Tear and dunk your naan and admire the craftsmanship (whilst avoiding spilling it down your leg a’la Frankie).
The Lamb Tikka Chops aren’t a necessity but by golly you’ll be glad you ordered them.
Succulent and just-the-right-amount-of-chewy, these babies offer the juicy bites of lamb meat you love with the added firework of tikka spice.
Ignore the knife and fork, use your hands and really go to town.
Once satisfied we had filled every possible pocket of our stomachs and had gnawed the very last lamb chop down to the bone. We sat back, utterly pleased with ourselves and completely unable to move.
I imagine by this time you’re quite taken with the delight that is Gatley Tandoori.
Join the club. Since first entering the scene all the way back in 1991 it’s dished up quality, authenticity and some darn tasty Peshwari ever since I can remember.
So be sure to gather up your hungriest pals, order lots, experiment or choose your fail safe to see for yourself – either way, it’ll be a magical experience.
A total naan out of ten every time.