A colleague and I needed to overnight in Bournemouth before a client meeting, and we were in agreement that a curry was our dining choice for the evening. A quick search online revealed the Mint Leaf Brasserie to be reasonably close and, based on online reviews, well regarded.
We arrived at about 8pm on a Tuesday evening to find several couples already dining, and were shown to our table. The décor is clean and bright, modern Indian, but somewhat disconcertingly features what look like African tribal masks, as though the restaurant had recently been converted, ah well.
For starters we both selected the ‘Mo Mo’ – a Nepalese specialty that was new to me. It looked, to all intents, like Chinese steamed dumplings. The stuffing was a minced lamb, that was effectively a lamb meatball and frankly bland, but accompanied by a spicy dip that (almost) rescued the dish.
For mains my colleague ordered the ‘Mint Leaf Special’, while I ordered the Hyderabad Lamb Biryani. The chicken in the Mint Leaf Special was stuffed with a herby stuffing and came with rice and a sauce. The chicken itself was tasty, but both the stuffing and the sauce were disappointingly bland.
The Biryani was served in an ornate brass bowl, topped with what looked like a chapati sealed to the rim, much like a traditional Pilaff. The chapati was cut open by the waiter with much ceremony to reveal the biryani beneath, topped with half a hard-boiled egg.
The Biryani itself was tasty enough, with large and plentiful pieces of tender, cooked lamb, but lacking somewhat in spices and rescued from mediocrity by the accompanying vegetable curry that I’d requested to be ‘Madras’ heat; that worked a treat.
Two starters, two mains, a garlic naan and a couple of drinks left us change from fifty quid; not too bad all things considered.
While it was perhaps not the most exciting Indian meal I’ve ever eaten, I would happily return to the Mint Leaf Brasserie, if I were to find myself hankering after a curry in Bournemouth again.