OUR quest for the perfect curry is over

FINDING a truly wonderful curry house can be a life affirming, almost spiritual experience.

And trust me I’ve been on the hunt for a place that does top-notch curries for more than a year after moving to an area which is sadly lacking in tastebud tinglingly terrific tarka dhals.

But in an attempt to broaden my horizons, my fiance and I jumped in the car and found ourselves at The Spice Lounge in Culcheth.

When you walk inside the Warrington Road restaurant you will feel like you’re in a chic, smart venue more akin to a city restaurant scene than here in Warrington. Yet that is just the start as we got started on the comprehensive menu full of curry classics along with a range of speciality dishes designed to tempt you away from your usual.

Who doesn’t start off a night at an Indian restaurant with popadoms?

At The Spice Lounge they came perfectly crisp with a pickle tray which included a fiery chilli sauce, cooling mint sauce, zingy onion chutney and an unctuous mango chutney.

With a wide range of starters it was difficult to choose. As a vegetarian I’m always tempted to opt for paneer-based dishes and The Spice Lounge can tempt you with just that with their paneer tikka. But instead I fancied something different and plumped for aloo tikka and it did not disappoint.

The potato patties were delicately spiced and deep fried. The dish took me back to my love of potato cakes from my youth.

My fiance, not normally the kind to go for a starter, threw caution to the wind and picked the chicken pakoras and was converted to Indian starters.

But the best was yet to come as the main event – Kashmir chicken and vegetable rogan josh – was a knockout success.

The words ‘one of the best curries I’ve ever had’ even passed the lips of my other half as he tucked into the creamy Kashmir sauce which included peaches and bananas.

But I think the real way to tell a great curry house is in the detail of the accompaniments.

I love tarka dhal and over the years have tried some sorry attempts at the lentil dish. But The Spice Lounge’s was a perfect consistency, not too runny, not too gloopy, with a nutty fresh taste – just right.

The rice was spot on, too, offering a fluffy pillow to cushion the flavours of the curry.

And finally the naan. We may only have ordered plain, but wow it was the best naan I have ever had, soft and moist with so much flavour.

Stuffed, we did not even attempt to try one of the tasty desserts, but there was a dish to suit every palate.

I think we can say the quest for the holy grail of a good curry house is finally over for us thanks to The Spice Lounge.

* Visit thespicelounge.com for more information about the restaurant or to book call 767777.