It’s national curry week and the go-to place for most people in South London for Britain’s most loved dish is Tooting.
It can be often a struggle to decide which place to visit, with a plethora of restaurants serving dishes originating from every region in India to select from.
There are the much loved favourite places and those which locals know to avoid, so it was with a risk I branched away from my usual haunts and paid a trip to Cardamom Club, in Trinity Road, Tooting.
As I push open the door I’m greeted by contemporary and stylish surroundings.
The owners have avoided harsh lighting and brash maharaja style decorations, instead everything is painted a cool lime green.
Cardamom Club is a family run business and a relaxed mood punctuates the atmosphere.
Owner Joy Moreno is happy to chat about the different dishes on offer, with added insight from her chatty son Mihali.
Even the head chef Bodrul Vasudevarao will pop his head out from the kitchen for a moment to tell the customers about his background, coming from a family of Bangladeshi chef’s.
The menu will please all tastes. Classic dishes such as chicken tikka masala and lamb madras all feature, including some exotic meals for the more adventurous. Joy has also spotted a niche in the market for families too with a kiddie box on offer for little ones. Priced at £10, youngsters won’t be left out and can get a curry, rice, mini poppadoms, lassi and green and black’s chocolate or vanilla ice-cream.
But I’m not a child and I’m after large, hearty portions. To start with I sample a garlic naan bread, £2.25. It comes served with chopped coriander and fresh garlic, with Bodrul cooking it right before my eyes.
For the main I decide to sample a selection of the different dishes. I try a chicken tikka masala (£7.10), apparently the most popular dish so far, which is cooked in the tandoor with a rich, cocoanut sauce. The chicken is deliciously tender while the sauce is not too spicey – probably more suited to those who can’t take the heat.
I also go for a saag chicken (£7.25), something I have never tasted before. The chicken is cooked with baby leaf spinach which compliments the spices. It is a bit drier and spicer than the tikka masala, and I think I’ve found my new favourite curry.
I’m happy to see my favourite vegetable based curry dish on the menu, channa masala, and can’t resist ordering it too. The chickpea dish is available as a main at £5.75 or a side at £3.45, with a ton of options available for vegetarians. It has a sweet tang, served in a tomato sauce and served with coriander.
I’m stuffed to the brim but feel like I’ve succeeded in my mission of finding an authentic curry during national curry week. It’s obvious why Cardamom Club has become so successful in such a short space of time. The posy takeaway menu has gone in pride of place of my kitchen and I’m already listing dishes I want to try next time.
Cardamom Club, Trinity Road, Tooting, visit cardamomclub.co.uk or call 020 8672 0088