New look adds extra spice to Falkirk eatery

The Sanam Tandoori has been fully refurbished for 2012
The Sanam Tandoori has been fully refurbished for 2012
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The new-look Sanam Tandoori was a ‘must arrange’ diary date when substantial renovations to this ever-popular eatery were completed last month.

After waiting patiently for the impressive makeover to be finished we were very anxious to book an evening meal at a restaurant which has never disappointed.

It is a few more years than I’m prepared (or allowed) to mention since the future Mrs Barber and I were introduced to the mouthwatering delights of Indian cuisine. The crunchy pakoras, melt-in-the-mouth naan breads and spicy chicken and lamb dishes, served with rice prepared in a way we had never experienced before, were a delight.

As the years rolled on and we became more adventurous, we broadened our culinary horizons to explore the huge variety of tikka, karahi, buryani, passandra, curry and tandoori dishes available from what always struck me as an ever-expanding menu.

That was always part of the adventure of saving up to visit the Shish Mehal once a month. Apart from agreeing anything ‘western’ that came with chips and ketchup would never be on our order, we never knew what starter or main course we would opt for until we were actually sitting at our table and taking in the delightful aromas wafting their way out of the kitchen or on heavily laden plates as they were carried by.

We rarely paid attention to the ‘mild, medium, hot and very hot’ warnings on the menu. Everything was spicy to a greater or lesser degree – and, besides, the waiters quickly learned the essential accompaniment to any meal we ordered was a large jug of ice cold water to get us through.

There was some concern when ‘The Shish’ reinvented itself as the Sanam Tandoori that it could, in our opinion, retain the right to being one of the district’s best – the competition had become and still is pretty fierce – but I have to say it passed that test easily enough and today, if anything, has become even more of a dining out treat.

On the Saturday evening we ventured in, the garlic mushrooms for me and chicken tandoori for Audrey were the opening picks and both were delightful and full of flavour, the salad and dressing with the mushrooms bringing a ‘zing’ of taste I’d never quite come across before.

My choice of beef lahore as my main course also went down well while Audrey’s comments as she enjoyed her lamb nashalee suggested there was nothing at all wrong with that either.

I could be churlish and suggest the service might have been a bit sharper, but will resist making a major issue out of that because the night we visited was the first Saturday since the grand re-opening and we were not the only couple in town eager to sample the new-look premises.

Overall, when it comes to quality and choice at a price well worth paying the Sanam Tandoori remains up there as one of the very best.

The Sanam Tandoori, 5 Callander Road, Falkirk. To book or for more information call (01324)

629595.