Restaurant review: BoishakhiBy Jon Nurse
September 05, 2012
The annual Boishakhi Mela event is a celebration of the Bengali New Year and the second-largest street festival in the UK behind the Notting Hill Carnival.
A feast of Asian culture, the London festival marked its 15th anniversary this May.
Three months later the party headed to Wokingham as Boishakhi restaurant was unveiled in August to bring Bangladeshi banqueting to the heart of the market town.
I dined at the Peach Street restaurant, formerly The Royal India, less than 24 hours after the town mayor visited for the official opening. The balloons were still dotted around the room and the service was sharp and friendly.
First impressions are key and the menu presented an extensive choice of starters.
Favourites like sheek kebab (£3.95) appear alongside pakoras (£3.75) and more unusual dishes like kafir lime murg tikka (£3.95), a lime-flavoured grilled chicken.
We decided to go with mango flavoured grilled king prawns (£5.95), together with a lamb samosa (£3.75), the mixed starter (£4.25) and a singhara (£3.25).
The singhara, deep fried pastry stuffed with potato and vegetables, was favourably herbed and well complemented with a selection of homemade sauces.
There were three dips to dive between; a green chilli sauce that packed some spicy without being too overpowering, a sweet tamarind sauce and my favourite – a sweet chilli sauce boasting a hint of garlic.
The mixed starter offered the best value for money with an onion bhaji, vegetable samosa, chicken tikka and lamb tikka. The chicken was delicious and tender, while the bhaji was quite plain. Still, a welcome opportunity to use the sauces more sparingly and one I seized with glee.
Our tour of the chef’s selection continued with three mains to share from the Rajasthan, Bihar and Bengal regions.
The Amli Makani (£7.50) was the mildest of the bunch, a chicken tikka in a creamy mango sauce. It was a welcome variation on the common korma flavour and the mango gave the dish a sweetness that contrasted excellently with its spicy cousins.
I’ve always been the boring bod who orders a mild dish on a lads’ night out, so this was always going to be right up my alley.
The Chicken-e-Chandpuri (£7.75) was a pleasing medium heat mix of chargrilled chicken, again nice and tender, with minced lamb. This dish was more of a mild madras and the option I’d probably return to on my next visit.
Thirdly we had the Laal Maan (£7.50), a spicy lamb curry that had a kick of chilli with tomato and garlic.
The menu is well varied, with most mains coming between £7 and £9, rices ranging from £2.25 to £3.25 and the old trusty naan bread just under £3. A buffet service is available on Sundays from noon to 10pm.
The portions were well sized – we couldn’t finish three mains between two – and the pricing is fair.
The new setting is simple, perhaps a little too simple for some, though I felt it set the right atmosphere for a chilled evening.
Wokingham has more than its fair share of Indian restaurants, but Boishakhi is a worthwhile addition to the medley.
- Telephone: 0118 9780179
- Address: Boishakhi
72 Peach Street