MAXI’S of Denby Dale comes highly recommended by my teenage nephew.
Jack and his pals have been Maxi’s regulars from quite some time now, so the other Wednesday we decided to take his word for it and call in and give it a try.
Our first impression was one of pleasant surprise.
Living only a couple of miles or so up the road we have passed Maxi’s countless times. The Indian restaurant is housed in one of the newish industrial units on the left just beyond the familiar viaduct arches as you drive down into the ‘Pie Village’. It is actually underneath The Denby Dale Pie Company premises.
From the outside you could say that Maxi’s Balti is unpretentious, but on the inside it’s a very different story.
There is a small lobby entrance from the main door and then an interior glass door opening into a quite sizeable bar/reception area. The main dining area is hugely impressive.
There has been a move away from the traditional Asian-style restaurant decor. Flock wallpaper and arches have made way for minimalistic pastel wall coverings and ornately patterned carpets have been replaced by plain floors and often wooden boards.
But, not at Maxi’s. This is a comparatively new restaurant (open for six years) but the decor is unashamedly traditional – some would say almost Raj. The walls and ceiling are predominantly gold; carpets deeply coloured and the furniture lavish. Tables are glass topped, supported by intricately moulded floral metal-painted stands. The restaurant motif is featured on the glass tops. The chairs are sizeable and solid, lacquered woodwork. The focal feature of the ceiling is a large swirled gold fabric centrepiece. The restaurant area has a palatial feel about it. The word regal springs to mind as it totally belies its looks and image from the outside.
We were served by front of house manager Iky, smartly dressed in his burgundy outfit.
We ordered popadoms (each restaurant seems to have their own spelling for these) and the pickle tray. The pops were a delight – large, light, warm melt-in-the-mouth, finely textured rounds and the tomato and onion pickle was particularly tasty.
For my ‘appetiser’ I ordered the King Prawn Tikka, marinated in herbs and spices and cooked in a tandoor. I was brought three of the largest prawns I have ever had seen, served up in an oval metal tray with sizzling onions and slightly pickled finger-like green peppers in the aromatic sauce. This dish was truly outstandingly conceived, prepared and cooked. It would have served as a main course, but more was to come. The prawns had been peeled but came with their tails on, crisp and inviting. They were meaty, sweet and succulent, quite simply the best I have ever tasted. How could they top that?
My main course was one of the house specialities – Chicken Chilli Chicken – a dish cooked with whole garlic, green peppers, onion, coriander, bullet chilli and tomatoes. It was billed as being ‘fairly hot’. It was indeed, but it was a culinary gem.
Carol had matched me course for course. Her starter was Prawn Puree: prawns in a piquant onion-based sauce served on a light puree bread. This too was a fine dish, I know because we mixed and matched and compared notes. For her main dish she opted for the King Prawn Rogan Josh and that too earned a meritorious seal of approval.
And, as an added bonus to compliment a hugely memorable evening out, we discovered the Lal Toofan Indian lager, which Maxi’s serve on draught. This is described as a ‘premier beer, brewed from basmati rice. We loved the flavour.
The members of Maxi’s team do not confine themselves to Indian dishes – they also conjure up an extensive range of pizzas, burgers, donner kebabs, fried chicken and desserts and a kid’s menu to eat in the restaurant or to take away.
Maxi’s takeaway delivery operation has proved increasingly popular. The service covers the full range of restaurant dishes and special offers.
Currently the restaurant is offering popadom and the pickle tray, selected starters, main courses and sundries for £9.95 per person and this includes tea or coffee, Monday to Thursday and Sundays. There is also a kids’ special menu with a selected choice of any one main meal, dessert and drink for £7.50 per child.
The Maxi takeaway van is often to be seen dropping off meals for Jack and his family and, as they live with a three-mile radius of the restaurant, delivery is free, so they come in at particularly good value for money.
Come to think of it, I qualify on that basis too.
I think Maxi’s could well be getting a call.
Denby Dale is nowadays far more than just the Pie Village. Ask Jack.
Maxi’s Balti and
Unit 16, Denby Dale
Wakefield Road, Denby Dale.
01484 86 81 86
01484 861 999
Restaurant: Monday to
Saturday 6pm till 11pm.
Sunday 6pm till 10.30pm.
Takeaway: 5pm till late seven
days a week.
Special kids’ menu.
The bill: £48.70 including
Would you go back?