Cut to the Chaseside

Neil Littman visits a family-run Indian restaurant in Chase Side

Some of the dishes served up at Chaseside
Some of the dishes served up at Chaseside

There has been a quiet revolution in the Indian restaurant scene over the past 20 years and Enfield has not escaped these changes.

The first Indian restaurant opened in the UK in 1810, located in a coffee house in Portman Square, Mayfair. Two centuries later, there are now at least 3,000 Indian restaurants in London – even more than in Delhi! A Google search throws up at least 40 locations in Enfield borough alone.

My first Indian meal was in Stoke Newington in the 1970s, accompanied by a soundtrack featuring an Indian brass band. It was an experience bizarrely repeated in Dover a few weeks later – same dishes, same music! At least by that time I knew what I was ordering.

Things have improved since then, and Indian restaurants are no longer a post-pub destination. You are now likely to find dishes from across the entire Indian sub-continent, including Bengal, Punjab, Bangladesh and Pakistan, all on the same menu. Presentation and cooking standards have also improved. While the cost of eating out has gone up in the past few years, Indian cuisine still represents good value.

This was demonstrated recently at the award-winning Chaseside Indian Restaurant on a cold Thursday evening, when I visited with a friend in tow. This family-run restaurant has been serving the area for more than 40 years, with the head chef being at the helm for well over 30 of those years and putting a lot of effort into providing an authentic culinary experience. The menu includes dishes from Goa and Lahore and reflects a creative approach to cooking.

On arrival, we were directed to a table next to a brightly lit aquarium. We noticed the staff have a good rapport with their customers. We ordered a king prawn starter served with a well spiced sauce and vegetable samosas, after sharing several poppadoms with some interesting dips – always a good social icebreaker.

Our main courses included tandoori chicken biryani, fish Balti, saag aloo, pilau rice and garlic naan bread. The fish Balti – which made me feel awkward sitting next to the aquarium – was made with tilapia. The dishes were well spiced and distinct from each other and nicely presented. Portions were generous; I unexpectedly ended up with enough for another meal to take home!

My friend was also impressed and we agreed it was well worth a return visit. While there was background music, it was more Bollywood than brass band. Our bill, which included a beer and glass of wine, came to £50.

Chase Side Indian Restaurant at 135-137 Chase Side, Enfield EN2 0PN, is open every day, 5pm–11pm. A special Sunday buffet runs from 12pm to 4.30pm. For more information and to book a table:
Call 020 8367 9919
Email [email protected]
Visit chasesiderestaurant.co.uk

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