The first thing to hit me about Shah’s is that this is possibly the brightest curry house I’ve ever been in. No bad thing – as I get older my eyes are failing and, while candlelit may be romantic, I need to learn braille to be able get through the menu. At Shah’s we had a great table with spotlights directly overhead. The nice thing is that there is also colour and so the effect is pleasing rather than forensically overlit. One thing is for sure; the food can’t hide here.
I started with Chot Photia – chickpeas and small cubes of potato with egg in a light curry lifted with coriander and lime juice. The only negative I can think of with this dish is the presentation. It sits in the middle of the plate in a small heap. But it tastes great. There is a sweetness to it but the coriander and lemon juice shine through. Its perfectly seasoned and the egg, potato and chickpea combination is a lovely base to pick up the flavours. I need to find a recipe because this would be a lovely summer starter and I could even imagine it accompanying other things in the same way I would use couscous.
For a main I ordered chicken tikka tamarind. The cubes of breast chicken were good quality and the tikka flavour just added an extra richness to the unctuous tamarind sauce. This won’t be to everyone’s taste because it is a big flavour and slightly sour. The consistency was similar to some plummy sweet and sour sauces – slightly sticky. I thought it was excellent. It did exactly what it says on the tin and looked pretty too. I also thought the Persian lamb smelled and looked fabulous – fat-rendered lamb pieces and onion in a dry curry format. I’d sprinkle some pomegranate on the top but otherwise it looked great.My side dish of matar paneer was a delicate fragrant contrast. In a light vegetable curry the cheese cubes gave a slight tangy flavour and the peas added the sweetness. I wanted variety and my choices couldn’t have shown it better.
Service was friendly and attentive- they clearly know what they are doing here and they deserve a good regular trade throughout the year and to be queueing out of the door during the holiday weeks. The bill for four of us with tip came to a reasonable £90 which included a few drinks but no dessert.