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Brockley's Babur Indian takeaway review
TAKE IT AWAY Babur to go 443 Brockley Road, Crofton Park, London SE4 2PJ
HAVING roamed widely in India, I find myself seeking out British curry houses and comparing them to the real deal. And Babur Indian takeaway - an offshoot of a restaurant which boasts a Thali-worth of top reviews - caught my critical eye.
The spartan room consisting of counter, waiting chairs and sludge-green walls was strangely reminiscent of a swamp. But the warm welcome from the staff and the offer of free delivery within a five-mile radius (for the a la carte menu lifted straight from the restaurant) put me at ease – I felt comfortable as Shrek as I waited for my order in the somewhat murky surroundings.
I find a korma is a sensible litmus test of any Indian menu, so I ordered a veggie one (£4.25), complemented by their regional speciality of Malabari Fish Curry (£7.75), Vegetable Pasanda (£6.75), Sag Paneer (£3.50) – a spinach side with hunks of Indian cheese - and simple boiled rice (£1.75). It was necessary to engage some eager friends as the helpings were generous.
The korma initially scored sky-high with presentational points as it came dressed with a red onion and pesto topping – a nod to its restaurant sibling perhaps. There was a thick sauce - thankfully light on the ghee - with chunky al dente veg. The Pasanda was fragrant and my personal favourite for combining comfort-food with flavour. The Malabari curry from India’s southwest coast had sumptuously textured fish infused with curry leaves, coconut and mustard.
My one criticism - and it’s a whopper if you’re someone with a spice threshold - is the heavy-handedness with chillies. I say it again: beware the chilli. You generally order a Korma or Pasanda as a British pansy hoping to be initiated gently into Indian cuisine, but lurking in these were some spicy fiends. I chomped on a large squishy vegetable I took to be an aubergine, which left me retching over the sink and gulping milk with smarting eyes for quite some time. My friend – guffawing at my misfortune - followed suit a couple of minutes later.
Maybe it’s been too long since I travelled, but I felt the Malabari and Sag Paneer were tolerably spiced, whereas the Korma and Pasanda tipped the scale. The menu is misleading in this point, with no cheerfully sketched chilli warnings next to these choices. With a slightly sore tummy I rejoined the feast as the food was undoubtedly delicious, just in need of a dousing of yoghurt-like Raita.
Delicious/chilli-licious - recommended but most dishes come with as many chilli warnings as stars
Very approachable and friendly
Fairly uninspiring, but they have a sister restaurant Babur in Brockley Rise for the sit-down experience
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