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Restaurant review: Anoki Restaurant, Derby city centre

Anoki enjoys a wonderful reputation - and the food did not disappoint Photo: James Dowse
Anoki enjoys a wonderful reputation - and the food did not disappoint Photo: James Dowse

As the season for celebration fast approaches our attention may naturally turn to where we will spend the cosy evenings which demand good food and company.

If you’re planning a meal with family, friends or colleagues but can’t choose which of our county’s many fine eateries to sample fear not – we are here to help.

Anoki, in Derby city centre, is about to celebrate its 20th anniversary, with events planned to mark the auspicious occasion.

Located on London Road, the restaurant is situated within the old London Road Cinema, first opened in 1913 and still featuring the original dramatic Baroque domed ceiling with ornate flowers in relief and classical figures rendered in plaster propping up the ribs of the structure.

Great British Life: A smorgasbord of authentic Indian delight Photo: James DowseA smorgasbord of authentic Indian delight Photo: James Dowse

Indeed, the room is still being used for its original purpose, with Bollywood music videos and films projected onto the wall below diners to give an extra touch of Indian authenticity.

The food, of course, also offers plenty of the latter as we discovered when sampling Anoki’s impressive tasting menu.

Our starter showcased the best this restaurant has to offer with a smorgasbord of exquisitely presented foods.

Take your pick of favourites - from delicately grilled tandoori king prawn, onion bhaji and the familiar, much-loved, chicken tikka to the much more subtle yet flavoursome reshmi tikka chicken.

The two standouts, however, were the marinaded lamb chop (ever so slightly crisp yet so perfectly melt-in-the-mouth you will wonder if you actually ate it or whether it evaporated on contact with your molars) and the chilli cod; the merest crunch of batter giving way to a delicious sweetness before the chilli makes its presence felt.

This excellent medley was served with a spoonful of tomato, ginger and garlic sauce and a refreshing cucumber and lime salad to add bite and texture.

Great British Life: A perfect and refreshing palate cleanser Photo: James DowseA perfect and refreshing palate cleanser Photo: James Dowse After gathering ourselves and recalibrating our appetites we were treated to the always welcome yet underused palate cleanser – in this instance a light, tangy raspberry sorbet served with crunchy fresh pomegranate seeds – heralding the arrival of the main courses.

Alas, column space is in short supply so your reviewer must be forgiven for selecting a few highlights.

Once again fish takes centre stage, with the curried cod proving spicy and rich yet defying expectation by allowing the flavour of the fish to push through.

Butter chicken (murgh makhani) was a rich, tomato and gingery delight with a welcoming swirl of cream for good measure; Desi lamb proved a milder, yet flavoursome offering and Bombay aloo provided some bite and structure with chunky potatoes in a spicy garlic sauce.

Overall, we were treated to half a dozen excellent offerings as well as the traditional rice and naan bread for mopping up those moreish sauces, all of which came in generous portions sure to satisfy the heartiest of appetites.

Great British Life: Curried cod - spicy, rich and full of flavour Photo: James DowseCurried cod - spicy, rich and full of flavour Photo: James Dowse

Miraculously having left room for dessert we were presented with the ideal finish in the shape of caramel ice cream with a small, deliciously sweet serving of sponge pudding as accompaniment.

Just the ticket and soothing on the palate, contrasting well with the spice of the curries we had gleefully consumed prior.

And what could be better than closing the meal with a cup of aromatic and astringent chai tea and sweet treats for the full Indian dining effect?

Anoki’s expertise in Indian cuisine coupled with knowledgeable, friendly and attentive service made for a wonderful evening – a sentiment surely be echoed by our fellow diners, all of whom left with smiles and looks of satisfaction.

It’s safe to say that another 20 years of success is more than achievable for this Derby stalwart.



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