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 Jeera Masala, Northampton
 Thursday, 5 January 2006
  restaurant factfile

Please note that we are unable to verify the impartiality of guest reviewers, so readers should use their own judgement.

Guest review
by Paul Motley, Northampton

Jeera Masala is situated in Marefair just a few doors down from the original Taj Mahal which broke new ground in Northampton as it was the first and only Indian restaurant in the town back in 1952. The Jeera Masala opened about 3 years ago and has received good reports by word of mouth, on that basis we decided to give it a try.

We decided there was no need to book as it was a Monday night and also just one day after New Years Day, in fact many places had anticipated such and not even opened, but as luck would have it The Jeera Masala was open albeit we were the only customers in there.

The single fronted premises were simply decorated with clean lines and perhaps a few pictures might have made it look more interesting. We were of course promptly seated, given menus and offered drinks. The menu was a standard heat graded listing with the usual suspects ranging from the usual Kormas to Vindaloos, all offered with either lamb, chicken, prawn or king prawn plus vegetable main courses and side dishes. The four of us decided to skip starters and order Lamb Pathia, a sweet and sour dish originally introduced to India by The Parsee community who fled to India from Persia to avoid religious persecution and settled in the mainly in Bombay. Between the remaining three of us we ordered Lamb, Chicken and King Prawn Jalfrezi. Jalfrezi is not a thoroughbred Indian dish but was originally introduced in Calcutta by the Indian cooks as a way of using up the surplus meat and vegetables left over from the British roasts, and of course by tradition an array of spices were added to perk up the meal. Jal means spicy, Ferazi means stir-fry in Bengali. We also ordered a selection of side dishes to compliment the meal, plus rice and chapattis. The meal arrived in the usual time of about 15 minutes and although we were not expecting anything special, the gravy was rich, of a good texture, and tastefully spiced. The Pathia was soured by vinegar and sweetened by sugar as required, however the Jalfrezi was a little disappointing as there was an omission of the usual green peppers which the chef had replaced by large chunks of onion. Due to the festive period, most suppliers would not have delivered for many days so this was understandable and acceptable, although a little pre-warning would not have gone amiss. The vegetable side dishes were all acceptable and my only criticism was that the chapattis were tandoori roti; the same dough as chapatti but the cooking in a searingly hot tandoor produces a different result making the breads somewhat firm and crisp instead of being light and fluffy.

All this aside, the meal was more than acceptable and may we all thank Abdul the part owner for the complimentary popadoms, and the offer of a free drink for all at the end of the night. As a standard Tandoori Restaurant it offers good value for money with the service and quality of food to a good standard.

Paul rated this 8 out of 10.