You would struggle to find the words best ever and salad in one of my reviews never mind in the same sentence.
But that is the only way to describe the stunning starter I was served up.
Admittedly I am not a salad lover, and the bar is very low, or was very low. Not any longer.
And it came in an Indian restaurant no less.
Not any Indian restaurant, mind you, Peterborough’s best in my opinion: The Banyan Tree in Westgate in the city centre.
Yes I could find something very nice to say about all its competitors,but all round The Banyan Tree takes some beating.
The main menu is excellent- great variety in what is on offer and some you won’t find elsewhere - but I do enjoy the lunchtime menu (a starter, main, rice or bread for £10), and I also like the pace.
Even quite a busy Saturday afternoon is relaxed and sedate compared to a noisy, atmospheric evening at the weekend.
With three of us dining, we certainly got a great cross section from the nine starters and 12 mains available.
Onion bhajis are not something I would normally touch with a barge pole, too many bad experiences down the years. Here were two magnificent specimen, both in size and quality: Dry, crisp and both the onion and the batter had a great taste.
The bhel puri, an Indian street food which I have had before, was once more bang on the mark. The savoury puffed rice gives the whole thing a great texture but the flavours from the chick pease, potato, tangy tamarind chutney and coriander make something so simple very special.
And finally, staying with something simple, the kachumber salad. What’s not to like - cucumber, tomato, onion, little bits of green chili, lashings of fresh coriander and a devilishly hot chili dressing. It’s a refreshing summer favourite with a kick like a mule. Best ever doesn’t do it justice.
I followed up with a mysore chili chicken - lovely strips of moist meat and a sauce that had a very subtle spicy kick - enough to get my attention as I enjoyed the pieces of onion and chili.
The peshwari pindi - different taste, same kind of kick - was packed with big sift chickpeas and was matched with a delicious galic naan - great flavours from the garlic and the bread,soft and crispy in places.
Lastly the murg tikka massala had plenty of soft, tasty chicken pieces in a very mild, but morishsauce that just asked to be mopped up with a soft tandoori roti.
The restaurant is comfortable, the service helpful and knowledgeable and the food - the starters in particular- presented in a way befitting their quality.
RESTAURANT DETAILS: The Banyan Tree, Westgate, Peterborough. tel 01733 342800
BRAD’S RATING: 9/10