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Gorge Formby

Does this Brick Lane curry house travel the extra mile? Mike Homfray and David decide if the spice is right at Zyka

Published on September 28th 2010.

Gorge Formby

Formby was once described as Britain’s most middle class town. Well, it does have a branch of Waitrose, the reassuringly expensive supermarket for snobs. Naturally, I shop there all the time.

But as a venue for eating out, Formby has never held as much appeal. Available options have always been depressingly ordinary, but a new-ish Indian appears to be making its mark.

Zyka occupies a somewhat incongruous position on the first floor of a small shopping precinct, but on entering it is both contemporary and relaxing – lots of reds and pinks, low lighting, and a fish tank. Just the place for Two Fat Poofs to spend a pleasant Sunday evening, at first to the cool sounds of Tasmin Archer and Sade, but sadly soon replaced by Richard Clayderman Murders George Michael.
It could have been worse (James Blunt?).

Zyka tells on its website how the operation was formerly based in London and that the spices (and chefs) are procured from the East End’s Brick Lane, which suggests that they are going for both authenticity and a cut above the average. Running the kitchen is Kalam Alum who, it says, has worked in 5* restaurants and hotels in India, Bangladesh, Singapore, Dubai and London. “He has won many awards for his innovative dishes.”

The menu contains a mixture of the usual curry house standards plus a range of signature and special dishes.

Popadoms to start with, and the usual selection of dips including the orange and quite tangy Zyka special (£2.70). The starters followed swiftly , in this case, four small and fresh tasting Onion Bhajis (£3.15) for David, and an excellent Shami Kebab (£3.85) covered with an omelette for me. It both looked and tasted home made with the kick only fresh chillis can bring.

We drank beer (Cobra £2.75 per 330cl bottle) but there is a wine list, 30-strong. No Lassi, though, which was a surprising omission given the authenticity claim.Careless Whisper was the cue for the appearance of the main course. Lamb Tikka Patiawala (£7.95)was tasty and rich with lots of fresh garlic and a dollop of yogurt. One of the best curries I’ve had for a while. We also enjoyed the Special Rajdani Chicken Massala (£9.95), creamy and mild with a hint of coconut. Pleasant enough but give me that lamb any day (David didn’t agree but then he is a lightweight. Well, no he isn’t. Confidential's reviewer Fat Git is but a stripling compared to us. So there).

We had boiled rice (£1.85), a light and well above-average naan (£1.95), and Tandoori Roti (£1.95), a thin, flat unleavened bread cooked, unsurprisingly, in the Tandoor. Actually quite healthy. Sag Paneer (£3.45)was a creamy and well-cooked side dish providing something green and five-a-day-ish. All told, an excellent selection.

Indian restaurants are never renowned for desserts, and Zyka have gone down the road of the bought-in ice cream formula. However, when that ice-cream is the divine Movenpick, Switzerland’s finest, a three-scoop of chocolate, caramel and passion fruit (£4.50)proved too much to resist.

David said he was ‘full’ and sat there watching me stuffing my face. Who cares? Movenpick is the sort of thing which should be available on the NHS.

It took a while to get the dessert menu though, and no one else seemed to be bothering, which either suggests I am a pig, or that I am a pig. The service in general is relaxed and competent.

So, Zyka is certainly one of the best local Indians. A total bill of £48 makes it less pricey than some of the city-centre ‘contemporary Indian’ pretenders and you may even spot the odd footballer. The addition of Lassi and cutting the Clayderman would be a relief, but all in all, it’s recommended.

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes, pizzerias and curry houses too.

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

Discerning BargeeMarch 3rd 2009.

Spotting a footballer in there is enough to put me off the place forever.

DigMarch 3rd 2009.

They don't have a firemans lift in the Town Hall. They have a firemans pole. It's only used by lapdancers to entertain the councillors during the meetings now.

AnonymousMarch 3rd 2009.

Do they have a fireman's lift in the Town Hall?

Professor ChucklebuttyMarch 3rd 2009.

You are quite wrong Mr Humphries, there has been a massive response to your article. The blogosphere is alive with outrage at your comments. you dare to attack that fine musician and artiste Richard Clayfingers with your throw away comments. Don't you realise this man controls the Hotel and catering industry worldwide not to mention Lifts and Elevators? You had better watch it next time you are in the lift on the 53rd floor and press the ground button. You might get down quicke than you thought. Richard has direct control over the worlds elevators from his Blofeld style base under Mt Etna. He is the man behind all the cctv he has evrywhere bugged Anyone who makes a rude comment about his music will find the floor dropping out, the walls closing in or the sudden plummet to the ground. He already has a 20 foot poster of you above the shark tank. Lucky David doesn't give his second name.This is bigger than the Satanic Courses row.

DigMarch 3rd 2009.

I thought Otis Redding controls all the lifts and elevators.

Mike HomfrayMarch 3rd 2009.

Underwhelming response here - anyone else tried this yet?

Professor ChucklebuttyMarch 3rd 2009.

There you go Michael, I knew I'd get you some response. I provide a similar Service to Mr Harry Nield for his Lol Word column.

Reg EnerationMarch 3rd 2009.

They need to have one in the Town Hall in case people are overcome by the Horror Storey.

WagMarch 3rd 2009.

It depends what you mean by "spotting a footballer in there". I would be surprised to find Fernando Torres in my Tikka masala or Ngo in my Wash n Go.

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