You can’t beat a good Ruby Murray, even on the hottest day of the year. Even though we were already feeling the heat, we just had to sample some of the dishes from the new summer menu at the multi-Michelin Recommended restaurant, Chutney Ivy, especially after its recent win at the prestigious Leicester Curry Awards, writes dluxe Editor, Jonathan Fraser.
The title of Restaurant of the Year is a big one, so we wanted to see what made the awards panel of judges so impressed with the Cultural Quarter-based eaterie. Leicester has a huge range of Indian restaurants, but Chutney Ivy cannot be dismissed as just another curry house. From the high ceiling loft style interior to the jam jar Berry Mojito’s served to us upon arrival, you can tell this is a contemporary take on fine dining Indian style.
Co-owner Shaf Islam greeted us and talked passionately about the dishes we were to sample that evening – all of them a modern take on the traditional Bangladeshi village food he loved as he was growing up. The ethos is of authenticity: familiar dishes cooked in the traditional way, but with a modern twist to enhance the depth of flavour rather than replace it. Shaf confides, “You’re being served a Korma, but it’s a
Korma like you’ve never experienced before. A Bangladeshi Jal Qurma slow cooked with yoghurt and milk rather than cream. It’s not the sweet, coconutty korma you’ll be used to, you’ll love it.” This devotion to doing it ‘right’ is unusual in many Curry restaurants where culinary cheats can save time and money.
But first there were starters to sample. New for summer and an inspired idea if, I may say so – is a platter of Indian Tapas. Catfish Pakora, Paneer Stacks, Aloo Tokki (Potato Cakes) and Siek Kebabs all served on nan squares, which had us diving in for more. We’d totally recommend these to accompany an after-work drink or pretheatre snack on the outside terrace. Also presented to us was a Dim Bhajee Salad,
which are boiled eggs sautéed in caramelised onions, roasted jeera and turmeric and served on a green salad with chillies; it was a fresh and palette cleansing starter for a summer’s evening – another dish harking back to Shaf’s Bangladeshi village.
On to the main courses and, with them, new drinks. This time we went for Daquiri’s – Strawberry and Mango to be precise; ice cold and delicious and on 2-4-1 throughout the summer. The Qurma we had been promised arrived as centrepiece to our feast – Muragh, Jaal Qurma. Tandoor roasted chicken on the bone gently cooked in sweet spices of cinnamon, bay leaves, green cardamom, milk, yoghurt and green chilli with caramelised onions and fresh coriander. Shaf was right, it was absolutely delicious; the chicken was so tender and the sauce rich, well-spiced and sweet without being sickly. The accompanying naan and rice served us well, as we scooped up as much of the delicious sauce as we could – we practically licked the plate clean! Alongside the Qurma, we delved into juicy chargrilled bell peppers stuffed with spiced mince lamb, paneer and peas – Capsico Leema Mattor. A simple yet flavoursome
dish that was the perfect accompaniment to the Qurma and not too heavy for a summer’s night.
Time for dessert – just a little bit of ice cream to keep us cool and served with a golden ball of deep fried paneer with a mango coulis. It had the consistency of a steamed pudding and was simple, sweet and satisfying.
Having sampled the summer menu, we can see why Chutney Ivy scooped the accolade of Restaurant of the Year. To earn that title, you must go above and beyond, offer excellent service and delicious food in a unique and welcoming environment. On all of this they score highly, changing the perceptions of popping out for a curry. We can’t wait to return – who’s up for Indian tapas?
Chutney Ivy is at 41 Halford St,
Tel 0116 251 1889 or