WHEN I mentioned I was going to eat at the Bina Tandoori in Caversham my friend’s son — a 20-something rugby player — piped up: “Love it there. The best curry in Berkshire!” Imagining him dropping in there late on a Saturday evening, four sheets to the wind with his rugby mates in tow rather dinted his recommendation, and a certain famous sketch by Rowan Atkinson sprang to mind (check it out on YouTube). However, there were other whisperings that we were in for a culinary treat from other quarters.
Sitting in the middle of Prospect Street, the slim façade belies the fact this is a large restaurant which goes back a long way. A recent refurbishment makes the interior a very atmospheric and contemporary place to eat. Décor and lighting are always near the top of the list in my book, and this restaurant does it well — all beech and etched glass with bright, modern artwork on the walls. We started with a Chef’s Platter — a combi dish including good, gamey duck tikka, fish pakora with melt-in-the-mouth batter and vegetable patties.
For mains I chose the hottest dish on the menu — in for a penny, in for a pound — Murgh Mirchwalla, a chicken dish in a highly-spiced naga sauce which came with one or two dangerous-looking whole dried chillis. My partner chose the Lamb Shashlick from the tandoori speciality list.
The chillis went down in one, and though the dish was hot enough to necessitate the removal of a layer of clothing (a cardigan, I hasten to add) it was totally delicious. The lamb, meanwhile, was beautifully tender and came with chargrilled peppers and onions — a more subtle and perhaps more sophisticated dish.
The Bina has been awarded another triple A in the Guide of Excellence this year to add to its other accolades, and it deserves it. The quality of the food, the ambience and the service are all excellent. Oh, and the plain nan is one of the softest and most fluffy I’ve ever had.