The Banyan Tree in Werrington became our takeaway of choice last month after a chance order left us wanting more.
Sadly the following day it closed for a refurbishment - so Saturday evening seemed an opportune moment to kill two birds with one stone: give the food another try and check out the new look.
And it didn’t disappoint on either level.
To be fair, the place didn’t look too bad to me, but after eight years they decided it was time for a change. And they have made a great job with its new contemporary feel (although oddly, the tired exterior is unchanged).
The decor is very modern, I love the wood cladding and tiled floor, and the furniture is smart too. Even the crockery is classy.
It looks like it could be serving any world cuisine. The only nod to it being an Indian restaurant is the music and the odd ornament.
The menu describes the food as authentic and rustic, well it is certainly different to most as the “British” Indian meals you might find elsewhere are nowhere to be seen.
Previously we’d munched through an enjoyable frontier mixed grill for two (see menu) at home, so we both chose something fresh.
I started with two terrific lamb samosas, which were oil free and crisp, and packed with a very unexpectedly spicy minced lamb and pea filling. I was particularly taken with the sauteed cabbage, pepper and carrot on the plate - a little less spicy with a hint of coriander.
Donna went straight for a dhingri murg - tender pieces of chicken, sauteed with mushrooms which were nice and soft, fenugreek, onion and garlic. A hot and spicy dish reminiscent of a jalfrezi in colour and taste.
She also had an old favourite - dal tarka, although the Banyan Tree’s take was quite different in appearance but the lentils and the sauce were just what was expected and every bit as good.
I love biryani - and the offering here is again quite different. While many restaurants offer a separate curry dish, I had one bowl - albeit a very moist, soft, tasty and spicy rice with succulent chunks of chicken. And I was more than happy with my lot.
Rhia’s vegetarian selection - dal makhani - was another unexpected treat, quite a mild, smooth, creamy buttery sauce packed with lentils. Her bhaji was crispy, not greasy, with a distinct “oniony” taste and the naan, warm, light and with little crispy bits which always add to the flavour.
There are cheaper places to dine on Indian cuisine, but as for better (the service was good) I am not sure (although the sister restaurant in the city centre might have something to say about that).
So there’s no plans for a change in our takeaway destination, and we might even be back to enjoy the Wednesday night Thali soon.
8 out of 10
The Banyan Tree, Church Street, Werrington.
Telephone: 01733 570111.
See our restaurants map at peterboroughtoday.co.uk/restaurants for more reviews.
Frontier Mix Grill - rustic combination of prawns, fish, chicken & lamb on a sizzling platter (for 2 people) £13.95
Murg Taangri - chicken legs marinated in a masala sauce and lime then tandoor grilled £5.45
Mahi Tikka Achari - fish marinated with pickles & spices grilled in the tandoor £6.45
Hare Masala ka Bhuna Paneer - cheese marinated in coriander, mint, spices & grilled £4.95
Tandoori Chops - tender marinated lamb chops cooked in the tandoor £5.95
Murg Korma - tender chicken cooked in a creamed cashew nut sauce £7.95
Murg Ki Khurchan - chicken and bell peppers dry sautéed with onions, cheese & yoghurt £7.95
Saag Ghost - tender diced lamb simmered in a buttery spinach & ginger gravy £8.95
Goan Fish Curry - fish simmered in a tangy gravy infused with mustard seeds & coconut (served with a portion of basmati rice) £13.95
Aloo Gobhi - cauliflower florets and potato cooked with cumin, ginger & tomatoes £6.95
Baigan Bharta - tandoor roasted aubergines sautéed with spring onions & ginger £7.95
Wednesday night Thali is £9.95 per person.