“You’re in for a treat” was what my friend said when I told her where we were headed over the bank holiday weekend. And they weren’t wrong…We most certainly were.
From the minute we stepped in the door, I knew we were about to experience an evening of celebration, exquisite food & impeccable service, simply put; a fine dining, Indian delight.
Nestled in East London’s vibrant South Woodford, just off the Central Line, Grand Trunk Road is very well known locally, its customers travel far and wide to come here…We had to book a month in advance to get a table. And it’s not hard to see why.
Like many in the hospitality industry, Grand Trunk Road was hit hard by Covid 19, months of lockdown & the resulting lost revenue has taken its toll on restauranteurs. One of the ingenious ways Grand Trunk Road managed this was to launch an enormously popular take away service, however, since reopening, their loyal customer base have flocked back in their hordes. And whilst the appropriate steps have been taken to ensure it complies with Covid 19 guidelines; temperature checks on arrival, screens between tables, hand sanitiser and social distancing… as normal as possible service is, thankfully, resumed.
As is tradition, poppadoms were ordered as soon as we were seated, but these were no ordinary poppadoms, light and bubbly with the perfect crunch, they were unlike any other poppadom I’ve tasted. Next up, we were treated to a mixture of vegetarian delights for our appetisers; Kurkure Bhajia (fried potato and onion mixed with gram flour, coriander & ground spices served with a tangy chutney), Tandoori grilled stuffed paneer (paneer marinated with paprika, ginger, garlic and gram flour, stuffed with mango chutney), Delhi Ki Chat ( wheat crisps, spicy soft chickpea, sweet yoghurt, fresh mint and tamarind chutney) Punjabi aloo & paneer tikka (potato & paneer cakes, sultanas, ginger, fresh coriander & mint with sweet tamarind chutney).
I’ve been on the planet 45 years, but I can say, hand on heart, that I have never tasted Indian food this good…scout’s honour, I LOVED IT. And the good stuff just kept on coming… for main course we had Banaras Ka Lauki Kofta (Bottle guard dumplings in aromatic sauce, Kasoori Malai Paneer (paneer cooked in creamed tomato, onion & kasoori methi) Chunar Ki Bundi (okra with beetroot vinegar onion), Delhi Ki Gobhi Aloo (cauliflower & potatoes tempered with cumin, ginger and tomato) & Dal Bukhara (whole black lentils cooked overnight with tomato & fenugreek & finished with cream) with a side order of Zuffrani Rice (basmati rice cooked with saffron & cumin) along side a applewood smoked cheese and a truffle naan. I almost feel sorry for the other naans I will eat in future as they will pale in comparison to those delectable flat breads.
To finish, one of us had the divine mango brûlée and the other (me) had what can only be described as a choc ice in a cocktail…the Bengali Breezier (crème de menthe and chocolate)
Readers, I implore you Run, don’t walk to this utter gem and if you’re lucky you may just get a table.