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And the winner is...

We've finally got round to picking a winner in our Indian restaurant curry rant. So just who has scooped the £100 for a ton of curry?

Published on September 28th 2010.

And the winner is...

Remember a few weeks back when we offered a £100 for an Indian restaurant meal in exchange for you telling us where to go for Merseyside's best curry?

We got loads of people taking up the challenge, so thanks very much. It doesn't matter what we think, it's your words that count.

There were some places we'd never heard of, but then the same suspects kept cropping up again and again.

Sadly, one of our own favourites, Coriander, in Waterloo, has ceased trading, but we hope that it's not a permanent state of affairs.

The winning entry, from Siobhan O'Donnell, took the money because it displayed an unbeatable knowledge of where to go for Indian food in the city. Coincidentally, it also happened to be a very good piece of writing. The words have been hacked right back here for space considerations, but you can read it, and all the other splendid rants, in their full glory here at £100 curry rant. Click here

So congratulations, Siobhan. Get in touch with us and tell us which curry house you want us to get the readies over to.

Siobhan O'Donnell says..." If someone paid me £100 every time I ranted about curry, I could have retired to a modest mansion in New Delhi several years ago. If such a job existed, I would love to become a professional curry-eater, only I wouldn’t want to lose my amateur status should there become an international curry Olympics.

My chosen event would be the three-course vegetarian. I have tried a number of curry houses including: Uni, Indian Delight and Master Chef, all on Renshaw Street; Passage to India and Asha on Bold Street; Shere Kahn on Berry Street. I also regularly go to the Maharajah on London Road. It has yet to disappoint. I never refer to it as a curry-house though; always an Indian restaurant, something different.

There’s a theory I believe, that most meat-eaters will confess to, that sometimes, even when there’s the finest quality steak on the menu, all you want is a hamburger and chips. In the same way, the Maharajah is excellent, but sometimes you need mango chutney, or naan bread or chicken tikka masala if that’s your dish, none of which will be found on the Maharajah menu.

So if you want a traditional British curry there are a number of commendations I can give. The Passage to India offers wonderful food, in pleasant surroundings.

Unfortunately, you can’t get paneer up the Passage, but one place that does often excellent paneer, kebabs and really good, fresh food is the Master Chef on Renshaw Street. I rediscovered it more recently when I went looking for Sunday lunch without a reservation, forgetting it was Mother’s Day. I can’t express how well it fixed up my St. Paddy’s day hangover from the previous night and set me up for another day of toasting the great Saint.

One thing I remember from a few nights out in the past, is that you can bring you own drink to the Master Chef for a minimal corkage.

You can also get a great meal at the Uni and if anyone ever has room for dessert, the kulfi is the best. It prides itself on being the cubicle restaurant (with individually switched lights) and it is open later but sometimes that’s what lets it down.

The only thing to have ever left a sour taste in my mouth after a meal at the Uni is the behaviour of other customers. We can all learn something here:

  • The cubicles offer a limited amount of privacy but they are by no means sound proof.
  • The waiter is not your best mate just because he’s been on the late shift the last two times you turned up steaming
  • Eating the hottest thing on the menu doesn’t make you big, clever or hard, just a bit sick and smelly
  • One dimmer switch does not a disco make.
  • If you want to make propositions to pretty young ladies in cubicles behind curtains, there’s a far more suitable venue along Lime Street.
  • In short, a curry is for life, not for closing time.
That’s my round up for now. I hope it offers something for everyone but if anyone can advise, I’m always happy to try something new if anyone can offer anything better. "

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13 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Andy in RuncornNovember 13th 2007.

Talk about an encyclopaedic knowledge! You should make Siobhan your official Curry Correspondent!!

S LNovember 13th 2007.

Thanks Mr. Sam Prakash for sharing your knowledge.THAT IS INTERESTING

Siobhan O'DonnellNovember 13th 2007.

I wouldn't say Indian cooking is TOTALLY unexplored by me, having eaten in various places around Rajasthan but it would hardly be helpful for me to recommend them on this website, until EasyJet start flying budget from LJLA to Agra. It would seem to me that you agree with me that the Maharajah offers something more authentically Indian than many and that it's fairly common for many dishes to have been adapted or created for British tastes, so there hardly seems a need to get your knickers in a knot. Just because a restaurant offers chicken tikka masala (which incidentally, I've never eaten) that doesn't mean we should enjoy their food.

Andrea VaughanNovember 13th 2007.

Well Done Siobhan I thought your rant was great. I would love to be able to taste and experience every single indian cuisine but unfortunately as i dont have the time, the money etc.. etc.. to travel north south east west around India I have to rely on the restuarants available. I wil most certainly make an effort to try the Mayur it looks amazing. May be Confidential should have posted this in their indian confidential if one exisits their readers may have a better "overview".

S LNovember 13th 2007.

i have been to all these places.i don't agree with siobhan. i usually go for my own search rather than accepting someones wise(vice)dom.I think each one has got his/herown talent which one can experiment.Then whynot try rather than consuming somenoe's refuse.

JoeNovember 13th 2007.

"You can't get paneer up the Passage". Ooer. Made my eyes water that bit...

Sam PrakashNovember 13th 2007.

what a pathetic and poor review that clearly manifest some common liverpudlian prejudices!To name a few please keep in mind that India is a very vast country-nearly 30 times bigger in size.The food culture is totally different from East to West,South to North.The so called chicken tikka masala that is available in U K is not seen in India.This is a Bengali or pakistani(anglicised)version of Indian food.I feel pity for Siobhan.But still you are lucky to get £100.To tell you the truth if you travel down in india from North to South-that may take you three full days-you may come across at least five diffefent type of cuisine.To put it in nutshell the Indian cuisine is totally unexplored by you Siobhan.If you can't call maharaja cuisine as indian what will you call a Goan cuisine or Kashmiri cuisine or the great Punjabi food that is served by the Sultans Palce,though they don't claim it.What about Chettinadu style or coromandel style or konkan style that all come from South West side of India.What about Assamese or Oriya cuisine that come from North East side?The original cuisine of India is Dravidian.Aryan and Mughal cuisine was added much later stage.That is the history.The Dravidian Cuisinse is seen,these days, only in Tamil Nadu,South India-precisely in Udupi region.So according to me all these restaurants cuisine can be called Indian because one can't say precisely this is Indian and that is NOT INDIAN.

Fat gitNovember 13th 2007.

Mine was better. I'm disgruntled.

ABNovember 13th 2007.

It's got to be Gulshan on Aigburth Road. The garlic naan is to die for!

BeebeeNovember 13th 2007.

So Mr Sam Prakash: all very interesting, that bollocks. But where would you go in Liverpool for a curry, IF IT'S NOT TOO MUCH TO ASK?

Siobhan O'DonnellNovember 13th 2007.

Having been granted £100 to spend in the Indian restaurant of my choice the first person I called was my best friend and regular “partner in curry”, Danielle, followed by our respective partners in life, Andy and Rob. As a foursome we were terribly excited about the forthcoming excursion and the other three were determined that I should pick the venue myself. I was keen to try somewhere new and after taking recommendation from colleagues and the Liverpool Confidential readers and ranters, I settled on the Mayur on Duke StreetI can’t remember the last time I visited such a well presented restaurant of any nationality. It’s dragged the traditional décor of curry houses into the 21st century, kicking and screaming by its flocked wallpaper. Nestled under the modern apartments that have been constructed at the top of Duke Street, you would expect it to reflect the contemporary design of its surroundings but for a Victorian terrace dweller with a mountain of DIY to tackle, it felt like I’d stepped in the pages of an lifestyle magazine and I loved it. I think it’s always a good sign when the kitchen is open and you can watch the food being prepared in front of you. We had a perfect view of the long stainless steel counter, which produced the dishes and aromas that whetted our appetite from the moment we stepped in the door. We ordered Papads (lighter crispier pappadums) and Chutneys while we perused the wine list and menu. Danielle likes Merlot, I’m a fan of Shiraz so in the end, we ordered a bottle of Chateau Indage Tiger Valley Merlot-Shiraz, from the Sahyadri Valley India; a really, gentle, drinkable, fruity wine.To start I chose Tikki (grilled potato cakes, made with cashews and dates), Andy ordered Paneer Tikka Shaslik, Rob opted for Samundri Ratan, whilst Danielle, having never seen it on an Indian menu before, tried Tuna Ke Paarchey (tuna steak). The food was immaculately presented and the smells as it was placed in front of us were fresh and exciting. The boys both liked their food but Danielle was happy to provide a few more details. The tuna was apparently griddled to perfection, with moist, flaky fish atop a delicately seared underside. My Aloo Tikki and chutney were exactly the right combination of sweet and spicy flavours and substance.For the main course I ordered Subz Thaal to give me the opportunity to try a few different things. In other restaurant it might have been called Vegetable Thali meaning a tray with various vegetable dishes but in this instance I received an onion bhaji, another Aloo tikki, grilled vegetables, paneer and a tomato sauce dish with garlic naan. As somebody with a wheat allergy the chance to order gluten free naan was a pleasant change. Unfortunately wheat free bread often fails to live up to expectation and sometimes fails to materialise at all. A couple times I have been invited to dinner and the host has promised to bake a loaf for me in advance, only admitting afterwards that it didn’t work out as planned but they needed a new doorstop/paperweight anyway. The gluten free naan bread had the texture of a biscuit and I’d recommend that anyone with an allergy order rice instead (do tell them if you’re celiac as the spices contain gluten). Andy selected Murg Tikka Lababdar (Chicken), Rob ordered Elaichi Ka Bhuna Gosht (Lamb) and Danielle ordered Chicken Jhalfrezi, with two garlic naans and pilau rice to share. They were all offered the opportunity to have their food made hotter if that was their taste but I think only Rob accepted. Danielle and Andy both found the level of heat in their food adequate without any additions. Danielle left some of the chillies on the side of the dish and the waiter laughingly gave her the option of having them wrapped as a snack for later, which Danielle politely declined. She said despite this, she appreciated the authenticity of the heat in the cooking and preferred it to the blander dishes that other restaurant create for British tastes. She also commented how well it worked with the second bottle of Tiger Valley we’d ordered. I noticed that while no particular part of my dish had seemed hot enough to overpower the variety of flavours within, a lovely feeling of warmth had enveloped my mouth in layers. I’d love to be able to cook in a way that strikes that balance. We all agreed that the food throughout had tasted light and healthy. The preparation seemed to have completely bypassed the method found in some curry kitchens that seems to involve swamping the food in oil and butter. Feeling satisfied but not stuffed, we were feeling rather pleased with ourselves until the dessert menu arrived and we all admitted that – yes, we’d rather like some of the nutty Kulfi on offer. It was the perfect end to a superlative meal.The bill for all of that came to £124.50 (£100 of it courtesy of Liverpool Confidential). The restaurant has some stairs leading up to the front door, which would pose an obvious problem for wheelchair users but personally, if you’re able to get in there, you definitely should.

KTNovember 13th 2007.

What a fantastic article! Give her a job as a Foodie Correspondent!

sdelengNovember 13th 2007.

What a great, well written and entertaining article - LiverpoolConfidential should give Siobhan a job!!!!!

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