Food Review: Taj Mahal, WokinghamBy Caroline Cook
October 22, 2010
Nothing tastes as good after a busy day at work as a tasty curry full to the brim with rich sauces and accompanied by a thick pattie of naan bread. And that is why Taj Mahal is the perfect retreat in which to unwind after a hectic day in the office.
Formerly a hub for people spilling out of the pubs and bars in Wokingham high street on a Friday and Saturday night the restaurant is expanding its reputation among midweek diners who are popping in for a cheeky treat after work.
Tucked in a small gap in Denmark Street, the Taj Mahal is perfectly sized for a cosy dining experience with soft-lighting and simple decoration creating a relaxed and comfortable ambiance.
While my guest and I browsed the menu we tucked into crispy poppadoms and a selection of dips and pickles, including a shredded salad medley and sweet, fruity mango chutney – a must for any Indian cuisine.
We then opted for a mixed kebab platter (£3.95) to start, which was a delicious selection of sheekh kebab and chicken tikka served with fresh salad including tomatoes and cucumber.
The meat was flavoursome and tender, a perfect warm-up to the curry, and the absence of a sauce meant you could really taste the marinated chicken, which was tasty and not overcrowded with spices.
The dish was served with a golden brown onion bhaji packed with juicy onions which were encased in a warm crispy coating.
As someone who normally tows a very safe (and admittedly slightly boring) line with the standard korma or tikka masala, a visit to the Taj Mahal seemed like the perfect opportunity to try something new.
The restaurant’s manager, Shereef, was extremely helpful and advised us on which dishes would set our tastebuds tingling, without soaring them into inferno-like temperatures.
On his recommendation I decided to try out the honey chicken pasanda (£6.75) – it didn’t disappoint.
Fusing the buttery smoothness of a korma with the sultry depth in the honey flavouring, it was both hearty and filling.
We also chose the Taj Mahal Special (£6.50) which was a firey red colour and looked sensational when it was placed on the table. Also a mild chicken dish, it was rich and satisfying and had an added kick which kept us heaping spoonfuls of it on to our plates.
For accompaniments we went for pilau rice (£2.25), simple and perfectly cooked, and strayed from the traditional Bombay potatoes to try sabzi roshani (£3.50). The mixed vegetable dish provided a light addition to the full-bodied curries and was dripping in a delicious garlic-based sauce.
No Indian meal would be complete without traditional Indian flatbread to soak up all the sauces running across our plates so we went for a peshwari naan (£2.25).
Stuffed with raisins and nuts the bread was deliciously thick and we kept tearing slices of the bread and letting the raisins tumble across our plates.
Every dish was bouncing with flavour and diners are guaranteed to sit back with a full and satisfied stomach at the end of the meal.
It is easy to see the appeal of the Indian restaurant for people hitting the town on Friday and Saturday and, with its central location, Taj Mahal will undoubtedly continue to pull in the revellers looking to round off a night with a curry and a pint.
But there is certainly space for the midweek diner looking for a tasty treat to keep them going till the weekend, making the Taj Mahal an ideal choice.
- Telephone: (0118) 978 0169
25 Denmark Street, Wokingham