Nellie The Elephant in Much Hoole, near Preston is set to be a favourite restaurant for years to come

It’s sad when an old friend disappears, particularly when that pal has been around for more than 20 years.
Nellie the Elephant has taken the place of the old Bangla FusionNellie the Elephant has taken the place of the old Bangla Fusion
Nellie the Elephant has taken the place of the old Bangla Fusion

The Bangla Fusion restaurant at Much Hoole had been the scene of many a celebration, gathering of clans and even the place where we said farewell to friends heading off to a new life in the North of Scotland.

But if you are of an optimistic nature, such events can also be the start of something which promises to be even better.

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Nellie the Elephant has taken the place of the old Bangla Fusion. A lick of paint, some new furniture and a different bar area give the restaurant a slightly different feel – although it is still recognisable to those who visited before. There is still a little work to do on the décor to create its own unique vibrant atmosphere but that will come.

Nellie the Elephant: pickle trayNellie the Elephant: pickle tray
Nellie the Elephant: pickle tray

However, the real test of any restaurant is the quality of the food and the staff. And I’m pleased to say the Elephant passed both with flying colours.

We started with a couple of small Cobra beers as we perused the menu – bottled for the moment, but the draught version will follow soon – and a few poppadoms with a pickle tray.

The pickle tray is always the first indication of a good curry house. It should be plentiful, tasty, and offer both texture and spice as well as something to cool down the mouth. All boxes ticked here, so we were off to a good start.

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In the interests of trying out as many dishes as possible to report back, we optimistically ordered starters – a chicken chat puree for husband Bob and a Goan fish dish for me. The plentiful chicken chat, based on a fluffy-as-a-cloud puree, was pronounced as the best ever tasted – praise indeed from a man who knows his chat!

Nellie the Elephant: goan fishNellie the Elephant: goan fish
Nellie the Elephant: goan fish

My Goan fish dish was also delicious. Flaky fish cooked in a mango sauce with onions and chillies, along with a hot sauce. Spicy but tasty.

Then it was on to the main event. A chicken tikka shashlik for me and a South Indian garlic chilli for Bob.

The shashlik was exceptional. It arrived on a sizzling platter full of large tikka pieces which had been marinated in yoghurt and coriander, surrounded by chargrilled onions and peppers. It was a piece of theatre as it was placed on the table and almost looked too good to eat....almost.

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I’d ordered some pilau rice, a bhuna sauce and a chapati to eat with it...I told you I was an optimist. Needless to say this all proved far too much and the leftovers managed to provide lunch the following day thanks to a doggy bag, as well as leaving me pleasantly full of perfectly cooked tikka and trimmings on the evening of our visit.

Nellie the Elephant: chicken chat pureeNellie the Elephant: chicken chat puree
Nellie the Elephant: chicken chat puree

Across the table, the South Indian garlic chilli was also going down well with a portion of mushroom rice and a garlic naan bread. The main meal was spicy, but not so much that it masked the taste of the dish, while the mushroom rice was described as a magnificent meal in itself.

The total bill came to just over £70, including three drinks – but also provided lunch the following day.

And a word on the staff who were friendly, attentive and knew the dishes on the menu in depth.

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We were definitely sad to see Bangla Fusion disappear, but if the Elephant keeps up these standards, we’ll be very happy with the new kid on the block.


Nellie the Elephant, Liverpool Road, Much Hoole.

Gillian Parkinson

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