|Anokha Is Frighteningly Good!|
All treat and no trick for our reviewer this Halloween
The sight of children sweetly wearing costumes and going door to door for sweets (and teenagers wearing stupid hats and rather desperately attempting the same) can mean only one thing: it's Hallowe'en!
All Hallow's Eve is not usually a festival we associate with Indian food, but one restaurant is committed to changing that. Anokha is a relative newcomer to Acton's Churchfield Road, but in the six months or so since it started it's already caused quite a buzz for its high quality food and service. Now, embracing the macabre spirit, they've launched a temporary Pumpkin Menu, utilising the devil's gourd in a series of dishes.
My companion and I alighted on their premises this Hallowe'en night, dodging the ghouls and goblins on our way there (although, this being Acton, many of those are here all year round). We were shown to our table by a courteous waiter, and then greeted by the front-of-house, Iftekar.
Anokha is part of a family business which owns restaurants all over the country – but Iftekar is actually an Acton native, so the new enterprise is something of a homecoming for him. And this new pumpkin menu is just the start of a series of attention-grabbing festive promotions.
Pumpkin might seem like an odd ingredient for Indian food, but it's very similar to butternut squash, which is quite common in curries. At any rate, we can confirm that the combination works, because the whole meal was exquisite – starting with a pumpkin chaat and a pumpkin puri (a small amount of bhuna in a pocket of unleavened bread), the tastes were spicy and delightful, the pumpkin giving a slightly sweet flavour, and topped off a with a light heat that even the most sensitive could enjoy.
Next we moved on to the main course, a “Special Pumpkin Chicken ” for my companion and a Jhinga Ti Tinga for myself. The chicken certainly lived up to its “special ” moniker – my companion declaring it “a triumph” - and my dish, made of king prawns sizzling in a tomato and vegetable sauce (with pumpkins in there somewhere) was similarly wonderful, with some of the freshest prawns eaten in Acton. These came with two sides made of (you guessed it) pumpkin, a Sabzi and an Aloo. Both were delicious.
All in all it was a delightful evening – good food, good atmosphere, acceptable company. It's at a good price too – you can see the menu for yourself at www.anokhaindian.com. The restaurant is BOYB, and rather uniquely, has no cover charge. If you hurry, you can even experience the pumpkin menu yourself – it runs until November the 7th – and we highly recommend that you do!
October 31, 2011