Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Indian curries favour with university area

Masala Masala boasts an intriguing menu and relaxed atmosphere

Where?







Masala Masala, 1 University Street, Belfast.







Atmosphere?







Masala Masala is a new restaurant which has opened at the top of University Street near Queen's ? where Serai used to be.



It has had a slight makeover and rebrand, and now serves an intriguing menu of Indian and Asian food.



The restaurant is a modern spacious bistro with a long bar on the right as you go in, moving into the slightly raised seated area on the left.



It has a relaxed atmosphere with contemporary decor which includes bamboo blinds and dark wooden tables.



This is lifted by the bright orange feature walls and subtle lighting.







Crowd?







There was a steady flow of diners and whilst not packed it was comfortably busy.







Menu?







The two-course early bird menu for £9.95, served until 7pm, seemed too good a bargain to pass by so we opted for that. There is a good selection of both starters and main courses on offer with appetisers including murgh tikka zaafrani ? chicken marinated in roasted herbs and mild spices and served with a touch of saffron, vegetable pakora, cod and salmon cakes, and vegetable spring rolls. The main courses included chicken/lamb bhuna, chicken/lamb korma, Singapore noodles, stir fried chicken, beef, prawn and vegetable served with spicy noodles and stir fried sirloin of beef with choice of sauce.











What did we have?







I had vegetable pakora ? onion, potatoes, cauliflower and aubergine spiced with fresh coriander, green chillies and deep fried. My friend started with cod and salmon cakes which came served with a sweet chilli dressing.



For the main course I had chicken bhuna - a semi-dry preparation of chicken cooked with chaap masala simmered in aromatic gravy. My friend had chicken korma cooked with coconut, almond and fresh cream sauce. Both main courses came with pilau rice.







Verdict







The vegetable pakora, although not the most attractive looking dish, was gently spiced and not too soggy. The cod and salmon cakes were tasty although the texture was a tad flat.



The bhuna was a substantial portion with a rich and flavoursome sauce which was packed full of chicken pieces as was the korma which was ruled a satisfying dish if perhaps a little on the sweet side.











Disability



The restaurant is on the ground floor with the door at street level. There are a few steps to negotiate once inside.







The bill?



Two early bird specials: vegetable pakora, chicken bhuna and pilau rice £9.95; cod and salmon cakes, chicken korma with pilau rice £9.95. Total: £19.90.



Last word?



Spice up your life.



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