WHEN a restaurant appears to be called “The Very Best Curry and Tandoori”, it is only fair to put it to the test.

It turns out that I misread the sign and this restaurant in Bexley Road, Avery Hill, is actually called Mahatma. These things happen.

The restaurant conforms as rigidly to the curry house style-guide as any which uses the ubiquitous image of a grinning Ghandi on their menu.

This is not one of those sparkly, gastro-tandooris – it is an old-fashioned place to pick up a Ruby, complete with Punjabi muzak, waiters in waistcoats, busy fabric patterns and a glowing picture of a waterfall at the back.

And sometimes that is what you want. The service was pleasant and the 15 minute wait was rewarded with a bottle of Cobra on the house.

My haul – shared, of course - of Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Tikka Shashlick, Vegetable Rice, Stuffed Paratha bread and a plain Nan came to a very reasonable sum of £16.30, including the 10 per cent discount for takeaways.

The food – you guessed it, standard. My girlfriend and I tucked in happily while watching the Apprentice and had no complaints whatsoever. But it was not remarkable either, it was just a curry.

Contrary to its claims, Mahatma is not the “very best” tandoori. But it is a decent place to pick up one of the classics.

How Mahatma rated:

FOOD ** Perfectly fine

SERVICE *** Friendly and not too over-familiar

INTERIOR/DECOR * Clean but unimaginative


Address: Mahatma, 156 Bexley Road, Avery Hill, Eltham SE9 2PH.