I can remember a time in Lindley and Marsh when there were no restaurants at all – well, none that came on my radar as a youngster in the 1970s.
A meal out was the Yew Tree on Halifax Road in Birchencliffe where it could sometimes get as exotic as gammon and pineapple – yes, fruit as part of a main course – how weird.
Or, if we were venturing further afield, it would be up to the Scape House at Scapegoat Hill after a drive over the moors to look at the heather.
Times have changed, curry is king and the Westbourne Road stretch is now takeaway city with plenty of restaurants dotted around Marsh and Lindley – but not that many eat-in curry houses.
Rasoi has ‘curry bistro’ engraved on the window and it’s got a chic feel from the moment you look at it with the large glass windows at the front. Inside, that classy touch continues both downstairs and upstairs with the tiled floor, large-patterned wallpaper that would do Laurence Llewelyn Bowen proud and mirrors that cleverly give it all an extra feeling of space.
Service is welcoming from the start; the staff are happy to see you and eager to give any advice while ordering, and will tweak any dish so you get a bit of what you fancy, so to speak.
Apart from the starters it’s not an extensive menu. In fact, compared to some curry restaurants that we’ve been to – where it’s like wading through War and Peace – this one was a short story.
There’s 17 starters, 10 main dishes that are chef’s recommendations, five vegetarian specialities and the rest are mainly your classics such as tikka masala, bhuna, madras, korma and rogan josh. So it didn’t take long for wife Ruth and me to make those all-important decisions.
Our starters were Chicken and Prawn Puri (£4.50) and Malai Chicken Boti (£4.25), juicy chicken breast marinated in yoghurt with mild spices, cream and cooked over charcoal.
The different textures of chicken and prawn worked well on the puri, which was the first of a couple of melt-in-the-mouth moments that we savoured during the meal. The menu promised that the chicken breast would be ‘juicy’ – not heard that one before – but it was certainly exceptionally moist. There’s a skill in getting that just right and they got it spot on.
For mains it had to be from the chef’s recommendations and were Punjabi Chicken Karai (£7.95), an authentic Punjabi dish cooked with fresh tomatoes, cumin, garlic, ginger, herbs and spices garnished with coriander and served sizzling.
And as for the other I said I was after something really saucy and the recommendation was the lamb balti (£9.95) cooked with fresh tomatoes, green peppers, garlic, ginger, cinnamon and coriander ... with extra curry sauce.
The lamb sure was tender and the extra sauce was perfect for the peshwari nan to be dipped in again and again. In fact, with all that sauce it was more a plunge.
The karai’s a drier dish but both had one thing in common – the spices kicked in a moment after you’d started each mouthful, yet both were smooth, never sharp on the tongue. Just to mix things up a bit we also had a veg thali (£10.50) which was our choice of three small vegetable dishes from the side menu. Ours were saag paneer (spinach and Indian cheese), bombay potatoes and mushroom and okra. These came with a puri.
A great combination of very different flavours from the earthy texture and taste of the spinach through the firmness of the small potatoes – something to get your teeth into – in the Bombay to the saucy fusion of mushroom and okra. Okra’s not a veg most people would put high on their wishlist but it’s a great spice companion.
For dessert it was ghulab jaman (£3.50) – spongy balls coated in rich syrup – but we couldn’t manage one each and I wanted cream while Ruth wanted ice-cream. That’s marriage for you.
So the waiter sorted out this domestic disparity. One portion split into two plates, one with ice-cream and the other with cream. Everyone’s happy and it was the second melt-in-the-mouth experience of the evening.
16 Acre St, Lindley, HD3 3DU
Tel: 01484 544226
Opening hours: 5pm-10.30pm Tuesday-
Sunday. Closed Mondays except Bank Holiday Mondays.
Disabled access: Steps at the front and the toilets are downstairs. No toilet for disabled
The bill: £68 including a bottle of wine
Would you go back? Yes