After several years of being  curry house-lite, Huddersfield  town centre has seen a sudden  explosion in Indian-style restaurants.

At one time there was the well-established  Nawaab restaurant near the bus station and  Chilli Lounge near the railway station and  not much more.

Recently though LaLa’s has cut a dash  opposite the George Hotel proving so  popular that its owners have had to open up  the basement to try to satisfy demand.

And if that were not enough, up springs the  very well-reputed Jannat Restaurant, also  close to the bus station.

But it seems there is still room for yet  another newcomer – this time Shagun –  perched cheekily opposite the lordly  Nawaab.

One of the key men behind the venture is  Vijendra Singh, 44, and originally from the  northern part of India.

As well as the gift of curry he has the gift of  tongues being fluent in Hindi, Gujerati,  Nepal, Punjabi, Urdu and Arabic.

Though as India boasts more than 365  languages he still has a few to learn...

Fortunately, having lived in this country for  six years he is also fluent in English and as  hospitable a host as they come, ably assisted  by the equally charming ‘Martin’.

Although originally from Nepal he has lived a  peripatetic existence in this country over the  past 13 years, roaming from Bath, Oxford,  Essex, Southampton, Bristol, Devon and  Bournemouth. Why he should be called  Martin I have no idea...

The restaurant is pristine and has a  welcoming, bright facade though as my  friend Nigel Bean said: “nothing really to  write home about in the decor department.”

I am not too bothered about decor in many  ways.

Shagun restaurant in Huddersfield town centre
Shagun restaurant in Huddersfield town centre
 

When the company is good, the wine flowing  and the poppadoms arrive glistening in a  basket, who needs imaginative  surroundings?

My friend Suzi was certainly on top form and  obviously enjoyed her evening as she began  balancing poppadoms on her head. Very  fetching.

As for my friend Mindy, he was in his  element busy sharing tales of the Punjab  with his Asian hosts.

Our mood improved even further with the  arrival of the food – Chicken Pathia for Nigel  which he was glad to see on the menu as not  all Asian restaurants present it.

Mindy always insists on some complicated  vegetarian dish cooked to his own  specifications and Vijendra, who has spent  his life catering for customers in four and  five star hotels from Bombay to Delhi, was  more than happy to accommodate his  wishes.

Suzi was too busy practising her poppadom  balancing act to worry about her choice  while I had my regular King Prawn Vindaloo  style dish.

Dipping my naan bread into the delicious  sauce accompanied by the excellent St  Emilion took me very close to kitchen  heaven. Bliss.

And one little test I have for restaurants is  their ability to compose a decent Liqueur  Coffee Cognac, having famously consumed  14 in a single session many moons ago.

Sometimes they arrive as muddy as the  Amazon River but these were great and some  of the best I have ever had.

But as Nigel, a former sales director and bon  vivant, said, although it was a good and  enjoyable meal, did it pack enough punch to  survive in an ultra-competitive environment?

He fears the competition may be too fierce  for it to survive though to be fair it has only  been open a matter of weeks and has yet to  enjoy an official opening ceremony.

Nigel said: “There is no obvious hook.  Nothing makes it stand out from the crowd,  witness LaLa’s the other week – modern,  young, vivacious, the place to visit and be  seen.”

I am not so sure. There is after all, a place for  the understated, no fuss, friendly Indian  restaurant and although I am a great admirer  of LaLa’s it can be too popular, even frenetic,  at times for its own good.

Shagun is a nice, calming restaurant which  does exactly what it says on the tin.

Having said that it will have to try hard to  survive.

Numerous restaurants of one description or  another have attempted to make a fist of  making a go of this site and some have lasted  longer than others.

On one memorable occasion a colleague  went to review a restaurant there. Before he  had managed to claim his expenses it closed  down and his review never appeared.

Let’s hope lightning doesn’t strike twice.

Shagun

1 Half Moon Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2JD.

Tel:  01484 542 888.

Opening hours: Closed Tuesday. Open six days a week from noon until 10.30pm.

Website: Not yet - it’s in the planning.

Children: welcome.

Disabled access: No.

The bill: £75 including wine and coffee for four adults.

Would you go back? Certainly!