Cheshire Indian dining out reviews - The Indian Goat, Bollington and The Rasoi, Tarporley
- Credit: Archant
The Rasoi, Tarporley and The Indian Goat supperclub, Bollington
The Indian Goat
Northern Makes Gallery, Clarence Rd, Bollington, Macclesfield SK10 5JZ. facebook.com/TheIndianGoat2018
Words: Helen Warwick
The one thing guaranteed to wipe Covid from my mind for several hours is eating out. When I’m settled on a chair, wine poured within arm’s reach, an all-encompassing bravado ringing in my ears, there’s no place at my table for the C-word. There’s something comfortingly optimistic about the entire experience. I realised this as I was perched in the corner of Bollington’s Northern Makes Gallery for the Indian Goat supperclub, lost in a very ordinary conversation with a good friend of mine. Abstract works from local artists climbed the walls, candles glowed brightly and the chatter of other diners hummed about the place. It was all refreshingly normal. An unexpected break from pandemic gloom. A welcoming embrace of great food I didn’t have to cook.
The Indian Goat is the brainchild of Sunitha Southern, a Bangalore-born cook who swapped her heady home country four years ago for the unflappably serene town of Bollington (that’s just been hailed the best place to live in the North West by the Sunday Times FYI).
Every month, she takes over the kitchens at this canal-facing gallery, emailing out the menu of come-hither dishes well in advance and serving every table with a grin as wide as her cooking repertoire. On my visit, things kicked off with a steak tartare, elevated by a blow-your-head-off beet and carrot ketchup. A teacup arrived with a refined masala puri chaat, crunchy with white peas and zinging with chillis and coriander. Next was a Rajasthani dal bati – a deeply flavoured dal with baked wheat balls, all lifted with a punchy lime pickle, and a junglee mass and roti that turned out to be like a taco, piled high with slow-cooked lamb and a dusting of spices. And finally, the softest Punjabi chicken with baked apricot, lubricated by raita. Every dish had depth, tucking in a chain of spices that only a skilled cook could pull off. And that she does at every juncture.
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Great food has always brought people together, and that’s exactly why there’s never been a better time to beeline to our local favourites – the newbies, the old-school joints, the supperclubs that pop up behind the most unassuming of doors. Take my word for it – eating out brings our towns back to life a little, and the Indian Goat is an indulgent and deliriously tasty place to start.
Four Lane Ends, Tarporley, CW6 9LZ therasoicheshire.com
Words: Joanne Goodwin
Are you ever going to get an unbiased review when your dining companion is an always-hungry 11-year-old fresh from a busy week at school, a 90-minute daily walk there and back, and an instruction ringing in his ears not to snack twixt home time and going out to Friday night dinner.
By the time the boy and I had spotted the twinkling lights of the Rasoi, on the site of the former Red Fox inn at Tarporley, both our stomachs were rumbling. But he was under instructions to be a critic for the night; to savour what was to come and to forgo any impulse to wolf it down without it touching the sides.
So when the family-run Rasoi’s charming Jarina Khan put a feast before us we took it slowly, soaking in the atmosphere in this charming old building that has been tastefully refurbished and cleverly set up for social distancing since she and her husband Shamim Ahmed opened the doors a year ago.
We began with starters from the connoisseur fusion appetisers section: korai kebab – tender sheekh kebab pieces cooked with fried onions, peppers, a hint of ginger and roasted garam masala; salmon tikka, with the fish subtly marinated in spices and baked in a clay oven, and paneer chilli – strips of Indian cheese stir-fried with fresh green chillies, spring onions and peppers in a tangy chilli relish. Now the great thing about the boy is he is willing to try anything and everything, and he declared the starters fantastic, telling Jarina “that was the best salmon I’ve ever tasted.”
While we took a break before mains we couldn’t help but overhear the conversation on the neighbouring table – fewer covers and no overbearing music means you can, and it’s clear that Jarina and Shamim are fulfilling their ambition to keep this ancient building firmly at the heart of the Tarporley community. They know their customers’ names. And their likes. Our fellow diners had been regular take-away customers while the restaurant was in lockdown and were delighted to be sitting in for a meal they declared absolutely delicious.
By this time the boy and I were looking with delight at our eclectic choice of mains – designed to test a mixture of old favourites with a few of the specialities from the Rasoi’s very extensive menu. Tasty Achari king prawns came in a rich tamarind coating, then chicken tikka masala but in the Rasoi’s special sauce to lift it from the norm, followed by our joint favourite dish – the butter chicken – with its rich tomato base, fragrant spices, and honey glaze.
To add some heat (because the boy had told Jarina he could take anything the kitchen had to give), we tackled the lamb jalfrezi – tender chunks of meat on a spicy base of onions topped with fresh green chillies, spring onions and tomatoes. It got a ‘wow’ from both of us.
Once outside, and vowing never to eat again (until the next time we go to The Rasoi), the boy let out a satisfied groan. “That was very good,” he said in his best critic’s voice. “And you know what was really special? The lady remembered my name when she said goodbye.”
A place where everybody knows your name, and that serves great food: fine Indian cuisine with the hospitality of a local you know and love. Bring on our next Friday night dinner.