Alamin's occupies a triangular shaped building on a corner on Tavistock Street in Bedford. The decor was bright and cheery but the odd layout of the building gave a crowded feeling even though the place was empty and also made it difficult to observe the other diners. Despite the lack of customers, we were shown to a table next to the kitchen door. The menu assured us that as the food was freshly prepared with great skill and care, we should expect to have to wait a bit for it to be served. Despite this, we declined the popadoms each time they were offered.
Less than five minutes after placing our order, the starters arrived. The onion bhajis were nothing special - a bit on the bland side but the texture was OK. The sheek kebabs were served on the plate, also bland and a bit puny. There was plenty of splatter although it was mild and uninspiring.
Our starter plates were whipped away as soon as they were empty and as if by magic, the main courses arrived. The chicken Ceylon was very coconutty and unexpectedly (but not unpleasantly) hot. The Balti chicken had a good selection of vegetables in a good thick sauce. Both dishes were pretty generously proportioned. The accompanying keema nans were well stuffed without suffering from the notorious keema creep but they were a little over burnt in places. The chicken biriani was uninteresting. The rice and curry sauce were fine but the chicken pieces were a bit too dry.
We quite liked the Alamin. The food could have been a little spicier in places but overall, the quality was good. The service was prompt - we were in and out in 45 minutes but didn't feel rushed. We're not sure how they could have been any quicker even if the food hadn't been freshly prepared. Some of the drinks were a bit on the pricey side (i.e. the Kingfisher - what a surprise - there's nothing particularly special about Indian lager so why do restaurants feel the need to overcharge for it?) but at least the speedy service meant we had plenty of time to sample a few cheap beers in the nearby Wetherspoons' pub, The Bankers Draft. A word of caution - the hot towels are on the volcanic side and are extremely scented. PhilS used his to wipe his mouth and could still taste it hours later. If you're in Bedford looking for a curry, remember the Alamin!
Which gives an overall rating of 3.5 bhajis.