It says on the menu that you’re sure of a warm welcome at the Taaj in Milnsbridge.

Well, you get that and wisecracks thrown in along the way with frontman Mothosir Ali who has the face and natural smile of a comedian and isn’t short on gags and one-liners.

Let’s dub him the curry comedian for the sake of this review.

The restaurant has been on Market Street in the centre of Milnsbridge for years now and has a loyal following.

It has an open kitchen and seats downstairs but wander upstairs and the warm welcome extends to comfy red seats and air conditioning to take more than the chill off now we are well into winter.

There sure are a lot of dishes on there along with masses for meat-shunners.

And you can take your own booze.

There were five of us - me, wife Ruth and friends Richard, Bev and Abigail - so we gave it a good going over and all left with smiles on our faces ... from the food as much as the jokes.

For starters, me and Ruth shared Bangla Thali for two (£7.25) that included spicy donner meat, prawn on puree, chicken tikka pakora and lamb tikka.

A well presented dish with the prawn puree sticking up out of the middle like a conical party hat? Was this some kind of joke?

Apparently not.

But is was a melt-in-the-mouth puree, the lamb was anything but dry, the donner meat and chicken tikka both fine, so they were off to a flyer and everyone else was happy with starters ranging from Royal mixed kebab at £3.10 (chicken tikka, lamb tikka and seekh kebab) through to spicy chicken tikka made with green chillies.

Mains included chicken tikka garlic wala (£6.95) cooked with plenty of garlic, onions, tomatoes and a touch of garlic pickle (that’ll keep the vampires well away).

Taaj special mixed karahi (£7.95) featuring chicken tikka, lamb tikka, prawns and mushrooms cooked with diced onions, capsicum, fresh tomatoes and garlic.

Chicken tikka jalfrezi (£7.25) cooked with onions, tomatoes, capsicum, green chillies, garlic and garnished with coriander and, finally.

Chef’s special balti (£8.50) which was a combination of chicken tikka, keema and garden peas with sliced onions, capsicum, tomatoes and a touch of balti sauce.

Taaj restaurant in Milnsbridge. Chefs special balti which is a combination of chicken tikka, keema and garden peas with sliced onions, capsicum, tomatoes and a touch of balti sauce.

The wala is a treat for garlic lovers - although probably advisable to make sure your partner has some too - while the mixed karahi was a big dish.

I’d asked for more sauce and Ali provided as promised - a good medium spiced dish packed with different tastes and textures each mouthful and the balti had a rich, earthy taste to it thanks to the keema and peas.

The surprising dish was Richard’s jalfrezi which had the heat of a madras - a right fiery dish that needed the nan to calm things down. Garlic, of course.

A good meal in pleasant surroundings with, as Cilla would say, a ‘lorra laughs.’

Thanks Ali for brightening up our day ... and our tastebuds.

Taaj Restaurant and takeaway

13 Market Street, Milnsbridge, HD3 4ND

Phone: 01484 644409


Opening hours: Mon-Thurs 5.30pm-11pm; Fri-Sun 5.30pm-11.30pm.

Children: Yes.

Disabled access: Steps into the restaurant and not a lot of room downstairs. Steep stairs to upstairs and no disabled toilet.

The bill: £67.10 for five of us.

Would you go back? Yes.