The Laxmi has been around so long it’s now something of a landmark on Woodhead Road in Berry Brow … and at night an eye-catching one at that.
Subtle mood lighting and a fine piece of architecture showing its staircase through a large glass enclosure certainly make it stand out.
And the chic interior continues the theme of modern comfort … but it’s best if you like red. For that’s the colour that dominates throughout from the walls to the artwork and even though to the toilets.
Yes, that poppy red is all over the place but it’s not particularly ‘in yer face.’ Red’s often associated with high adrenaline stuff such as sports cars (think Ferrari) but coupled with the ambient music here it’ll help soothe your anxiety levels at the end of long, hard day.
They’ve come up with a slogan – longer than most but captures what they’re trying to do. It reads ‘The architecture says pub, the decor suggests Conran, the style shouts brasserie, the sign reads Laxmi, the food is Indian,’
So a bit longer then than Subway’s ‘Eat Fresh’, McDonald’s I’m Lovin’ It and KFC’s Finger Lickin’ Good.
The menu’s pretty long too with 11 meat starters and, perhaps surprisingly, an equal number of vegetarian options. And our non meat-chomping chums have no less than 17 mains to go at too. Let’s face it, they’re spoiled for choice here.
Menu layout is not something that usually gets me going but you’ve got to praise this one for the clear way it’s laid out, listing the meat dishes, the fish options and the vegetarian stuff.
Each has a little chilli guide next to indicate the heat with one for mild and four for very hot. No doubt they’d do a five if you asked them but surely only a fool would push that particular culinary boundary.
The other aspect to the Laxmi that you probably won’t get at many other Indian restaurants is presentation – never more so than with the starters. They come on a small yet long rectangular plate complete with bistro-style salad in a small pot (after all I’ve yet to meet anyone who eats all their salad with a curry), a small pot for sauce and then the dish itself.
Mine was seekh kebabs – not the long offerings you normally get. These were small, fat and on a stick with a curly end. Told you presentation counted for a lot but certainly isn’t everything as this was a crafted kebab, dry so it cried out for the mint yoghurt raita but with the subtlest of kicks.
The other starter was fish pakora, marinated haddock pieces cooked in spiced gram flour batter. Again, not a starter to overface you and came with delicate yet crispy onion rings on top. The batter certainly didn’t overwhelm the fish which can so easily happen, with the marinade keeping all that flavour locked in.
There were four of us so mains were chicken korma, chicken bombay, keema muttar and chicken madras.
The korma was, as you’d expect, mild, creamy and simple – one your grandma could eat and wrongly think it was some kind warmed up coronation chicken, but without the sultanas.
The bombay gets rather nutty with cashew nuts, ground almonds and sesame seeds and was solidly in the number two chilli chart. The madras was in at number 3 and well-rounded – not spiced up for spiced up’s sake but one that was there to be robust without venturing anywhere near overpowering.
The keema muttar was described as the chef’s special lamb mince cooked with peas but never really explained why it was special. Cooked with petit pois rather than your large garden peas and was a classic example of a traditional Indian dish.
Nans here are thinner than at many Indian restaurants but packed with the flavour they promise – one glance at them tells you that. Don’t get too close to someone after your garlic and coriander nan unless they’ve had the same or you’re married to them (or in a long-term relationship, civil partnership, etc).
Dishes we have our eyes already on for the next time we go are goan chicken curry – a sweet and sour dish cooked with tamarind, coconut cream and mustard seeds served with red chilli garnish along with chicken mirchi cooked with deseeded chillies and topped with green chilli garnish.
One we definitely won’t be having is chicken fruiti cooked with banana, mango and pineapple. Now that’s an acquired taste if there ever was one.
Now it’s rare we got for dessert but the Laxmi offer what they dub a chocomosa – samosa pastry filled with chocolate and filled with a large dollop of vanilla ice-cream.
It works with not so much chocolate inside that you’ll feel guilty, although the pastry won’t be that low on the calorie counter. Still, you could always opt for their Belgian waffles instead.
No, the main guilt came from the fact we’d not been back for so long. We’ll be returning sooner rather than later from now on.
158 Woodhead Road, Berry Brown, Huddersfield, HD4 7NE
Tel:@ 01484 666555
Opening hours:@ Tuesday to Saturday, 5.30pm to 11pm, Sundays 5.15pm to 10pm
Disabled:@ Yes and toilet
The bill:@ £62.20 for four for the food. The receipt helpfully shows what you spend on food and what you’ve spent on drinks.
Would you go back?@ Certainly