Dining Out: Anoki, Derby
PUBLISHED: 11:50 11 November 2011 | UPDATED: 20:16 20 February 2013
Our reviewer enjoys Asian cuisine in one of Derbyshire's most opulent eateries
There is surely no better way of warming up on a cold autumnal night than a delicious Indian meal expertly cooked and perfectly presented in warm and luxurious surroundings. Since opening in 2003, Anoki has forged an impressive reputation as one of the countys best fine dining restaurants and owner Naveed Khaliq clearly has a unique concept in mind to combine elegance, opulence and fine dining in an impressive display of ethnic food at its best.
Located on London Road in the centre of Derby, the lofty and well-manicured exterior of the restaurant is just a foretaste of the magnificence to follow. Situated in an old picture hall, the mirrored stairway to the restaurant is similar to that of a gateway to an Eastern Palace, and the walls are adorned with beautiful pictures and ornate carvings. Sparkling chandeliers hang from the domed ceiling and the opulent decoration in gold, cream, powder blue and pink promises to draw gasps of admiration from diners this is certainly a very fitting venue for a meal at the height of luxury.
As friendly waiters in traditional dress weaved through the tables carrying huge platters of aromatic cuisine, we settled down to view the tempting choices on offer. Friendly, efficient service was a feature of the meal and crispy poppadums with a piquant selection of chutneys and pickles quickly arrived at our table along with refreshing drinks.
The menu offers a choice of ten starters, including fresh pieces of cod tossed in a hot chilli sauce (6.95) and succulent lamb chops cooked over charcoal (7.95). After much deliberation, my partner chose the prawn puri (7.50), an excellent combination of juicy king prawns served on warm, lemon-soaked puri bread. The spicy mix of pan fried seafood with a thick sauce of tomatoes, onions and coriander provided a lovely contrast of textures and portion size was perfectly judged leaving just enough room for the banquet ahead.
Fancying something a little lighter, I opted for the selection of vegetable-filled appetisers (6.95). The meal arrived as a mouth-watering platter of Indian favourites including bhajis stuffed with onions, crispy samosas and tasty pakoras served with a trio of sauces and decorative carved vegetables. Even better, the dish was presented still sizzling, with the freshness and the immaculate quality of the ingredients making every mouthful a delight. The restaurant serves freshly cooked food from a variety of Indian regions, and the menu features traditional meat, fish and vegetarian dishes alongside exotic oven-baked breads and a vast selection of flavoured rice to accompany each meal. The shahi chicken (12.95) a chicken breast marinated slowly in a blend of herbs, cashew nuts and cream sounded particularly enticing, as did the renowned Goan fish curry, an intriguing fish-lovers favourite of sea bass tossed in green chillies, cumin, ginger paste, tamarind and coconut milk(16.95). My attention, however, was drawn to the mirch masala chicken (12.95) a dish humorously quoted on the menu as being a firm favourite with all our staff no further recommendation required. A splendid indulgence of herbs, spices, ginger and succulent chunks of chicken, the meal was visually stunning and subtle hints of fresh coriander and garlic added a lovely zest to the otherwise rich combination.
My partner opted for the balti special mix (15.95), an extravaganza of Indian meat including spicy chicken, lamb and king prawns bathed in a rich melody of aromatic flavours. Keen to share the indulgent choices, we helpedourselves to modest spoonfuls of each dish, the colours and fragrances mingling to produce a visual and sensory delight. Wed chosen Indian beers to accompany our meal rather than wine, and the soft texture of Cobra (3.50 a glass) was a perfect and welcome complement to the spicy food. Flavoursome slices of peshwari naan (3.50) proved perfect for soaking up the creamy sauces, and the piece de resistance was the steamed egg fried rice (3.95) a simple yet expertly cooked side dish that worked well with the more complex aspects of the meal.
The only way to complete such a delicious feast was with kulfi the colourful Indian ice-cream. We chose the refreshing pistachio and mango, served as triangular wedges along with juicy blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and cream. A steaming pot of coffee with a selection of mints and chocolates provided a faultless finish to the meal.
From the atmosphere in the restaurant to the wonderful food that emerged from the kitchen, its easy to see how Anoki has won a whole host of awards and accolades, including national recognition via The Michelin Guide, Square Meals Gourmet Guide in The Times and The Toptables Top 100.
With two other equally lavish Anokis in Nottingham and Burton to choose from, Im certain that I will be returning soon possibly to sample the sumptuous banquet menu, which offers a wide selection of culinary delights to share for large groups or small parties, or to try more items from the vast bespoke menu one thing is for sure, Anoki has to be one of Derbyshires finest dining establishments.
First Floor, 129 London Road
Derby, DE1 2QN
Tel: 01332 292888