Flavours of India
Paul Mercer takes us on a journey into the wonderful world of Indian fusion cuisine at Lanterns, Budaiya
The place and ambience
‘Authentic, colourful and welcoming’
As soon as you enter Lanterns you would be forgiven for thinking that you are in India! The décor creates a mood that is quintessentially Indian. The walls are bright and colourful, reflecting the diversity and creativeness of Indian style, fashion and culture. There is also a sense of authenticity and tradition with typical Indian decorations such as old style hinged window shutters, earthen clay pots and old fashioned styled lights – yes, you guessed it, lanterns!
The restaurant is spacious with a variety of seating options. When I visited Lanterns for this review I was accompanied by nine other diners as I wanted to see how the waiting staff would manage a larger party. We immediately recognised that the Lanterns staff was accustomed to serving a full restaurant and that catering for a group of ten was not a problem in the slightest. From start to finish, the waiting staff was exemplary in their service showing full attentiveness and responsiveness to all our requirements.
‘Delightful and flavoursome’
The menu is vast, offering a wide range of North Indian dishes and Tandoori specialties. There is a good choice of appetisers, salads, soups, main courses and desserts. There are also options for vegetarians and vegans. My team of diners and I sampled as much of the Lanterns menu as we could manage and here are some of the dishes that are worth the mention.
‘Tid Bit Platter’ – A great dish for sharing and getting the conversation going. An assortment of juicy tempura fried prawns, vegetable spring rolls, stuffed fried mushrooms and chicken minced kebab. Suggest you pick up a stuff fried mushroom before your co-diners do! There’s also a vegetarian option called ‘Veggie Sampler’.
‘Garlic Mushrooms’ – Fresh delectable button mushrooms sautéed in Elephant garlic butter. A big hit with most of the diners.
‘Prawn Sikkimese’ – Probably the best starter on the menu. Fresh local prawns, presented on a sizzling thick cast iron dish, seasoned to perfection with ginger, garlic, spring onions and a hint of masala. Wow!
Tastes from the tandoor – there is an array of tandoori style dishes including succulent boneless chicken marinated in ginger, garlic, coriander and green chilli, delicious tender lamb tikka (pieces), freshly caught fish (hammour) and local prawns, each cooked to perfection.
For the curry lovers, you will be spoilt for choice. Whether you choose prawn, fish, chicken, lamb or vegetarian, there is a selection of curry sauces to tantalise the most discerning taste buds. Our favourites were the Fish (hammour) Kadhai, the tasty chicken Makhani (a good choice for those who want a less spicy option) and the Lamb Rogan Josh for those who like a little bit of spice. If you like a hot dish, try the Vindaloo. The waiting staff will help you choose the right level of spice for your palate.
There is a good range of delicious traditional vegetarian dishes such as Gobi Gola Chay Keema, Pindi Chana (chickpeas), Spinach Jharoka and the regal Shahjahani Pulao (rice cooked in mild spices with fruits and nuts) and also vegan options such as Dal Makhani (a luscious and creamy lentil sauce), Paneer Saagwala (tasty Indian cottage cheese cooked with earthy and hearty Indian greens) and Methi Malai Matar (a cream based green pea dish).
A variety of tasty Indian desserts are on offer including such treats as Gajar Halwa (a carrot based sweet), delectable Gulab Jamun (Indian dumplings in sugar syrup) and Kesar Pista Rasmalai (curd bathed in sugared milk flavoured with pistachios and saffron) together with fusion offerings such as molten chocolate pudding and home-made Tiramisu. My diners voted the Tiramisu as the highlight of the evening and the Gulab Jamun a close second.
A three-course dinner for two plus a bottle of sparking water will probably cost between BD20 and BD25. A tandoori mixed grill, my favourite, will set you back BD5.900 – that’s good value. For a group of four who would like to sample a variety of dishes I would recommend the Maharaja Feast. Suggested for four diners, comprising a Kebab platter of an assortment of grilled meat, chicken, fish and prawns, a selection of four curry dishes, assorted bread and a choice of dessert all for BD8.9 per person. Tremendous value!
‘A fabulous Indian restaurant that delivers on taste and value’
A fabulous and ethnic ambience in a welcoming and friendly environment makes Lanterns a super place to meet friends and family and sample the delights of Indian cuisine, not to mention exceptional value for money.
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