Restaurant review - Anoki, Derby
PUBLISHED: 00:00 31 October 2019
Our bon viveur cleric 'Friar Tuck' visits the Derby restaurant
The Abbess said she was wanting something to spice up her life. I could think of no better solution than take her to Anoki, winner of many awards including numbering in The Times Top 10 Indian Restaurants in the UK.
Our arrival did not disappoint. We ascended a mirrored staircase to enter a spectacular room. Once a cinema, the domed ceiling is supported by Grecian columns and the décor gives the sense of a modern Indian Palace. This impression is enhanced by waiting staff in traditional costume, affording a royal welcome.
As I read the menu, accompanied by Indian beers and poppadoms, I realized that visiting on a Friday was a mixed blessing. On the plus side Anoki offers 2 for 1 on main courses. On the downside I could not partake of meat - and the Tandoori lamb chops for starters looked very tempting. I soon cheered up, however, when I saw a wide range of options for vegetarians and, better still from my perspective, some very interesting fish dishes.
The Abbess started with a vegetarian platter and expressed herself well pleased with the selection of pakoras, onion bhaji and fresh salad that soon arrived. I ordered hot chilli fish and was delighted - a bowl of lightly battered cod pieces in a thick dark red sauce. Not so much hot as deeply warm and intensely flavoursome.
The extensive wine list made for interesting reading. I was tempted by the champagne of my fellow monk, Dom Perignon, but the price was beyond the purse of this poor friar. Our waiter helpfully guided us towards a bottle I had not previously encountered - Casa de Pacos Rose Vinho Verde, literally 'Pink Green Wine'. This sounded like a contradiction in terms, but worked extremely well, refreshing and not too heavy, but with enough character and fruit to stand alongside the Indian spices. Altogether an excellent combination and good value at £21.95.
For main course the Abbess opted for Chicken Saag. She pronounced the chicken tender and nicely spiced but not so much as to overcome the taste of the whole leaves of fresh spinach. I chose King Prawn Karahi - a bowl of the delightful crustaceans with thick slices of peppers, mushrooms and onions in a very pleasing sauce.
The two courses, along with beers, wine and various extras including poppadoms, pilau rice and a naan left us well satisfied, so I called for the bill which arrived with After Eights and the luxury of hot towels. The total came to £89 (on top of which I felt the service merited suitable reward). Not the cheapest of outings but I do believe you get what you pay for. This was high class dining. Food skilfully and imaginatively prepared and presented, spices subtle not overpowering, with good service in fine surroundings. Anoki can prepare all the usual Indian dishes if these are what you desire, but I suggest that it would be a wasted opportunity to go there without trying the new and exciting dishes that are on offer.
And the Abbess seemed very happy too as we wended our way back to the forest.
Anoki, The Old Picture Hall, 129 London Road, Derby DE1 2QN