New Taj Indian Takeaway, Gloucester Road: Review

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Please note: our order from the New Taj was received free of charge, but this in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site.

 

I love it when a place surprises me. The New Taj Indian takeaway on Gloucester Road wasn’t somewhere that had ever been on our radar before – we tend to have a few favourites that we order from and have delivered to our door (because we’re lazy), preferring to stick with tried and tested options. But when they approached me to ask if we wanted to come and collect a curry to review, we were intrigued.

Why? Because they’ve got a pretty impressive history. Just past the Ashley Down junction on Gloucester Road, the New Taj was opened right back in 1989 by Monoara Pervin Choudhury – the first Asian woman in business in Bristol, they say. She ran the business for 15 years before reluctantly retiring, but it’s still in the family: her brother Mohi Uddin Choudhury and his wife have been at the helm ever since.

And they’ve made national news over the years, too. In 2005, Sky reporters headed to the New Taj to taste their Flu-Indaloo: a curry packed with spices designed to fight flu symptoms. And in 2008, they launched their Curry Crunch Menu, as an economical way to enjoy curry during the year’s credit crunch. At £7.95, including any traditional curry plus pilau rice, nan and papadom, it’s still available today, too – along with their new “Brexit Bonanza” meal, described as “not for the fainthearted”…!

I don’t drive, so Chris made his way up there to collect our order – and while he reported back that the decor and the exterior of the place looked pretty tired, the staff he met when collecting our food were friendly and helpful, and greeted him as if he were a member of the family.

We’d had the onion bhajees (£2.10) recommended to us, so it would have been rude not to try them. Served in a paper bag, which helped to blot out some of the excess oil, they definitely looked the part: golden brown and decently sized. And they were still a little oily when we ate them, if truth be told – but lovely and crisp outside and packed full of tender onion and plenty of cumin and coriander. We loved the creamy, mild and cooling mint dip that they were served with too, made from scratch by the New Taj team.

 

New Taj Gloucester Road - Onion Bhajis

 

Two curries, a mild side to share with the small person and a portion of rice seemed like about the right amount of food to order, and it hit the spot. The pilau rice (£1.95) – while I’m not a fan of the use of coloured rice – was lovely and fragrant, with whole cloves and cardamom pods still scattered throughout. The sag paneer (£2.95 – top right in the picture below) was incredible – the best we’ve had. There was a generous amount of the firm Indian cheese for the price, and plenty of spinach, with chunks of onion adding extra fragrance and the dish cooked in coconut milk rather than cream to give it a sweetness and creaminess that we loved.

Of the two curries, we preferred the achari chicken (£6.75): tender pieces of chicken tikka cooked in a medium-hot sauce that had been given a beautiful tang thanks to the use of wonderfully sharp pickles – small chunks of pickled lime made themselves known in the odd mouthful. If you’ve not tried an achari curry before, do it – it’s one of my favourites…

The lamb in our lamb rogan josh (£5.50 – bottom right of the picture) was ridiculously tender and not at all fatty, and there was a decent amount of it nestled in amongst the big chunks of tomato, pepper and onion. The sauce itself was deliciously rich, although we’d have preferred a bit more of a kick – for a rogan josh, it was incredibly mild.

 

New Taj Gloucester Road - Curries

 

We ordered a nan each, knowing we’d need to share with the toddler…the peswari (£2.25) for Chris, and the cheese and garlic (also £2.25) for me. The dough itself was beautiful – soft and pillowy with just the right amount of chewiness. Chris loved the sweetness of the peswari, which was packed full of flavour, while mine was more garlic than cheese, but still very tasty.

 

New Taj Gloucester Road - Cheese Naan and Peshwari Naan

 

We genuinely couldn’t believe the prices on the New Taj menu: they were significantly lower than what we generally find at Indian restaurants and takeaways across Bristol. And the food was tasty, too: while I’m not going to claim it’s the best Indian takeaway I’ve ever had (apart from that amazing sag paneer), it’s incredible value for money, and it’s great to see a food business that was established 30 years ago still going strong today. We’ll be back…

 

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