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Lockdown food review: Eurasia Tandoori, Bridgnorth

Excellent food in generous portions, says food writer Andy Richardson, but please be more polite when taking orders!

King prawn biryani was aromatic
King prawn biryani was aromatic

It’s time for clear communication. It’s time to publish opening hours, to brush up on customer service, to remind people you are still here and to stay relevant.

Which is curious, because those are some of the things that Eurasia Tandoori, in Bridgnorth, don’t do. On their web page, they have opening times for Christmas Day and Boxing Day but just one line saying they’ll be providing a delivery service during the Covid-19 crisis.

It took this reviewer two weeks of off-and-on trying to get through. And when he did, the man answering the phone could best be described as surly.

When you can eat inside, enjoy the decor and spaciousness

It’s a shame that Eurasia hasn’t paid sufficient attention to detail on those fronts. For everything else that it does is magnificent. It serves the best curry in Bridgnorth, no question, and probably only has four rivals across Shropshire and the Black Country – those being Golden Moments, in Ludlow; The Bilash, in Wolverhampton; Saffron, in Oldbury and Five Rivers, in Walsall.

It’s a multiple award-winner in a series of prestigious contests, having won both the 2015 and 2016 UK Curry Chef of the Year, among many others. It regularly achieves a five-star rating for hygiene from Shropshire Council, while it remains a firm favourite of discerning diners from across the region.

The only thing it really needs to do is update its website and make sure the guy who answers the phone is a little cheerier. No doubt after reading this it will.

The cheery waiting area

Consistency over a long period of time has been Eurasia’s watchword. It opened its doors in 1975 and has been opened by the same team since 2001. Among its owners is Chef Amjad Ali – the guy who regularly cleans up at cooking competitions and awards ceremonies.

In 2013, the restaurant underwent a major refurbishment and more recently it’s been delighting locals with authentic renditions of food from India and Bangladesh. It has long been a credit to Bridgnorth.

The menu is impressive. Chef Amjad’s signature dish of ginger chicken showcases his talent and creativity while there is plenty of innovation in a thrilling menu that combines a number of house specialities with a wide range of traditional dishes.

Fine dining at Eurasia Tandoori

Since the onset of lockdown, it’s been pretty near the top of my list to use and a simple midweek supper didn’t disappoint.

Skill and flair, balance and good technique, sensible spicing and precise cooking – all were on display in a collect-it-ourselves dinner featuring two starters, two mains and a side. Physical distancing measures are in place, as they ought to be at every restaurant, with contactless payments and the two-metre rule diligently observed.

We ate a cheering supper that was big on flavour and so generously proportioned that there was plenty left over for the following day. I tried to order a paneer chili, though they’d run out of the fabulous Indian cheese. No matter. Restaurants are not to be blamed for the shortage in some ingredients. First it was toilet rolls, then bread and flour, now paneer. Where will it end?

Tandoori king prawns had been elegantly butterflied

My partner started with tandoori king prawns, which had been elegantly butterflied before being marinated in tandoori spice and cooked in the tandoori oven. Plump and still tender, they offered gentle heat allied to a natural sweet-saltiness. The spices augmented their natural flavour, rather than vying for attention or crowding out the oceanic tastes. They were a fine way to start.

My tandoori chicken was similarly impressive. Tender and packing a flavoursome punch, the chicken had been cooked on the bone so as to retain plenty of moisture. Marinated in yoghurt and spices and grilled in the tandoor oven, the outside had been gently scorched, adding a new dimension to the dish. It was served with a few sliced onions, capsicum and a side salad with a twist of lemon. The lemony citrus, mild refreshing crunch of salad and spice of the chicken comingled to great effect.

My main was the dish of the day. A chicken pathia was punchy and reminded me why it’s one of the best curry dishes in the region. Full of sweet, tangy flavour, pathia is found in too few Indian restaurants.

Dish of the day was chicken pathia

It has its roots in an ancient Persian dish and has been adapted to Indian cooking before making it big in the curry houses in the UK. The dish originally emigrated to India with the Persians who evolved the recipe to use Gujarati spices. It’s a medium-spiced dish that blends sour and sweet, with tamarind providing extra zing. Some restaurants add a little brown sugar, others honey. The Eurasia version had a passata-like texture, the result of using plenty of tomato paste, and hit all the right notes. Subtle and refined, it was an expertly concocted dish.

My partner enjoyed a more-traditional dish: king prawn biryani. The prawns were generously served, the rice beautifully spiced, the curry sauce mildly intoxicating and its proportions were such that it served two, rather than one. Aromatic and dainty, the spicy prawns were an excellent pairing for caramelised onions and delicate basmati rice.

Our region has a proud tradition of curry cooking with a large number of exceptional restaurants. Eurasia has long been among the very best and it remains a cut above the rest. Having eaten there for some 20 years, I’ve never been let down by the impressive mix of flavours and skillful cooking from Amjad Ali and his team.

While many people who visit curry houses invariably opt for the same combination of dishes over and over again, Chef Amjad provides sufficient variety to encourage people to opt for something new. He provides a true flavour of India and Bangladesh in a menu that is executed with considerable skill and showcases his gastronomic flair.

In this new era of physical distancing, Eurasia has been refashioned to provide great-value take-outs that ensure exceptional value for money for locals and those making collections.

DETAILS:

Eurasia Tandoori, 21 West Castle Street, Bridgnorth WV16 4AB Tel: 01746 764895 Web: eurasiatandoori.co.uk * If you know of a food business that’s offering a brilliant take-away/delivery service, let us know. Email arichardson@shropshirestar.co.uk with the details, so we can check it out.

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