14 April 2008
38 Holly Grove, Peckham
020 7277 2928
IT'S NOT a normal Sunday afternoon routine for me to pop out and have a curry, but after waking up to the flurry of snow last weekend it seemed a nice hot meal might just be in order.
Curries are typically eaten after a skinful of beer, and myself and the Mrs honoured this, in a way, by having a shedload the day before. I, however, was in a rare position of taking the moral high ground in our relationship, after an erratic performance the night before by her ladyship.
We sauntered along to the curry house, tucked away behind Rye Lane, myself with cockiness in the step, to a place which is unassuming from the outside and similar on the inside too.
The restaurant is not flash but more than functional. But from the fare that is served up it is obvious where the hard work happens in this place. Despite being licensed the Mrs opted for a coke (a wise decision), and I joined her as I am a man of honour and sought not to exploit my new lofty status.
The menu is pretty eclectic and the Mrs told me that the food on offer is genuinely what you would find in Southern India, a place where she has travelled, and what the restaurant specialises in.
Being a novice to this type of cuisine, I took the advice of the ever helpful staff and opted for the squid for starters and the classic southern Indian dish of Banana Leaf Thali for my main.
The Masala Dusa was a favourite of the Mrs on her travels so she selected that, and after being allowed a taster she plumped for the unusual Kadappa Fish Curry for a main.
Both starters really delivered. The Mrs’ meal had a huge pancake that engulfed a fair size plate, and was reminiscent of the large rack of ribs placed on Fred Flintstone's car in the cartoon’s opening sequence. But it wasn't just huge it also delivered on taste. The pancake contained a lovely spiced mash, and had three delicious chutneys of various degrees of sweet and sour that meant every mouthful could contain a variety of tastes.
To be honest, we could have shared this as a starter and it would have been sufficient, but I went for the squid which was, although served in a simple fashion, succulent. The squid, which is easy to overcook, was juicy and tender and the collections of spices and onions were a delicious taste sensation.
Having gallantly helped the Mrs polish off her huge starter the mains were brought over to us. This time it was myself who was treated to a gargantuan choice of dishes. I confess that I have not been so excited since I was given £2 to blow on the Woolworths pick and mix counter when I was eleven - so much choice that I barely knew where to start.
I had five pots of food to pick from: two chutneys, yoghurt, and a sweet, and was given the instructions just to tuck in and enjoy myself - which I followed to the letter. My mouth had no idea what was happening half the time as there were so many flavour combinations. But did I enjoy it, you bet your bottom dollar I did.
The fish curry was also lovely; a full salmon fillet that was succulent to the taste was the star of the dish, with the spices helping to bring out the best of it rather than overpowering it. The Mrs was worried it would have too much of a kick for her liking, but she was delighted with her gamble.
So pleasantly full after two particularly hefty portions we didn't have room for what looked like a delicious selection of desserts. We will just have to sample them on our next visit.
Its heartening to see an independent restaurant like this flourish, the food delivered really reflects the passion all there have for Southern India. And a friendlier bunch you could not find.
I have never been to India and I was counselled on exactly what was on offer by friendly and knowledgeable staff. There is also informality to the place which makes it easy to relax.
Ganapati is now approaching its fourth birthday in its current site, and on the many occasions I have walked past it is heaving. There is no doubt I will be back to join that throng and I'll be bringing a few friends along too, as I am positive they will enjoy this little jewel of a restaurant.
Masala Dusa £5.50
Tamarind Fried Squid £4.75
Banana Leaf Thali with Chicken £13.95
Kadappa Fish Curry £10.95
Kerala Paratha £2.25
Glass of Coke x 2 £3.00
Banana Lassi £2.25
FOOD (1-5) 4
AMBIENCE (1-5) 5
PRICE VALUE (1-5) 4
DISABLED ACCESS YES
DISABLED TOILET NO
No comments have been posted.
RAILTON ROAD SE24,
Leasehold, For Sale
TEA TRADE WHARF SE1, £1,295,000 , For Sale
TOWER BRIDGE WHARF E1W, £550 , per week, For Sale
PROVIDENCE SQUARE SE1, £1,600,000 , For Sale