Staying off the booze in October is challenge enough, without any added temptations.
Already this week, I’ve been asked to review a supermarket’s new whiskey, and been invited to the opening of an photographic exhibition, where there will no doubt be an abundance of the best-of-all drinks… free drinks.
Time to cheer myself up then, with a Saturday night takeaway, to take home to my hooch-free house.
But, I choose unwisely, and fate once again guides me slap-bang into temptations way.
The Shanti Lounge claims to be the only takeaway with a bar in the north west, and offers the most agreeable lounge in which you can take your time ordering, over a glass of, er, sparkling water.
And if you’re particularly thirsty, that’s fine, because the menu is huge. If you’re planning a party, the choice will suit everybody with 33 starters and street-food kebabs, all of which can be ordered as tapas-style dishes.
That’s before you get near the mains, signature dishes and grill; it’s no wonder it needs a bar to hold people trying to make up their minds.
All the while, you can peer through a window behind the bar at the noisy and frenzied activity of a handful of chefs, busily tackling the weekend curry rush-hour.
The place is busy; there’s no shortage of options around here, so these punters must know a good thing, but that means a lengthy wait despite ordering ahead
Once home, the food is hot, but there’s a slight confusion over which is which, due to some illegible scrawls on the containers. No matter, everyone tuck in and see what you fancy.
The Mardras Masala (I think) is rich and red, but so is the Chettinad. It’s not shy of great lumps of succulent chicken, with a spicy kick and certainly not oily like some curries can be.
The chicken tikka Chettinad was a dish neither of us had tried before, and made with a variety of herbs and spices it packed a flavourful punch and was nicely spicy.
The mushroom rice is slightly disappointing. It could be, well, mushroomier, in volume and taste, but the keema naan makes up for it, generously packed with tasty mince, and not coloured a sinister red like some naans I’ve had.
Those queuing folk clearly knew their stuff, and I shall join them again, raising a glass to November in Shanti Lounge’s inviting bar.