(Cessman) – The Gurkha, Broomfield Road, Chelmsford
Another sneaky Thursday curry with my friend John, while his wife was dining with ‘the ladies’. This time we thought we’d try something in central Chelmsford, and The Gurkha gets good reviews on ‘Tripadvisor’, so we thought we’d give it a try.
The Gurkha opened in 2011-12 (based on the photos of the grand opening), they’re just a few yards from the junction of Rainsford Road and Broomfield Road, close to Chelmsford Civic Centre and ‘Live Dosa’ that John and I visited a couple of years ago.
It’s clean and modern inside, with a signed photograph of Joanna Lumley to reinforce its Gurkha credentials.
There were about a dozen customers in when we arrived, at about seven thirty, but they left shortly after we arrived, this is clearly a popular pre-theatre restaurant; Chelmsford’s Civic Theatre is only a hundred yards or so away.
As you might expect, the menu is more Nepalese than Indian, although the menu helpfully identifies where dishes are ‘inspired’ by Indian dishes. Interestingly the menu claims Biryani to be a ‘Popular western Nepal dish’, that’s news to me as I’d always considered it to have northern Indian origins, but I guess national borders have been ‘flexible’ over the years.
That said, Biryani is my yardstick, so I ordered Chicken Biryani a “Popular western Nepal dish cooked with saffron flavoured basmati rice and Ghee served with side vegetable curry.”
For starters I ordered Manang Tikka- described as ‘boneless chicken breast marinated with ginger, garlic, pinch of chilli, malai and soft cheese cooked in a clay oven tandoori.‘ – Malai is defined as “An Indian cream made by heating and then cooling non-homogenized whole milk and then skimming off the resulting fatty layer.”
John ordered Raja King Prawn as a starter, and Chicken Chettinad as a main – described as “Chicken breast cooked in the typical Tamil Nadu style with green chillies, coconut milk, curry leaves and mustard seeds, a spicy treat.” with Pilau Rice.
We added Saag Aloo, a Peshwari Naan and a pint of Gurkha beer each.
John’s Raja King Prawn was huge, although flattened out to within an inch of its life, with a thick, crispy crumb coating. It was a tad dry and would have gone really well with a Japanese Tomkatsu Curry sauce.
My Manang Tikka was delicately flavoured and delicious.
All the main courses were presented in copper bowls that enhanced the presentation, and helped keep the dishes warm, my Biryani was tantalisingly spicy, just giving that tingle on the lips, and plentiful. John’s Chicken Chettinad looked less than appetising but was subtly spiced and really tasty.
There’s not much to add about the side dishes, save to mention that we didn’t manage to finish either, we were so full.
The Gurkha lager – brewed by Hepworths in Surrey – was tasty and refreshing. A pleasant change from the usual lager suspects.
The final bill came to just under fifty quid for the two of us, as can be seen from the excellent, itemised bill. The manager offered us a brandy, but we declined.
This is, I think my fourth ‘Gurkha’ restaurant, I remember trying one in Edinburgh and a couple in Didsbury, Manchester.
This is by far the best I’ve visited, with excellent service and delicious food, it’s top of the listings for a reason.
We’ll be back