For our first review, we decided to visit one of Northampton's oldest Indian Restaurants, The Bilash on the Wellingborough Road. This should not be confused with the Bilash takeaway which is next door which is confusing! We had quite a good turnout, with eight diners although only 5 were willing to make any comments. The restaurant is divided into two with approximately 1/3rd of the tables in the bar area and the rest at the other side of a dividing wall. Unfortunately, we were alone in the bar area. We ordered drinks whilst we pondered the menu and although lager and soft drinks prices were on a par with the local pubs we were staggered to find that Kingfisher Indian Lager was £4.20 per pint! Totally unjustifiable, in our opinion.
For starters we ordered 3 lots of onion bhajis, a sheek kebab and a shami kebab. Reaction to the bhajees varied with PhilS and SteveB agreeing that the look and texture of the bhajees was excellent but unfortunately they were rather bland. However, KathyC thought they were very good and awarded them 8 out of 10. Both types of kebab were disappointing. They had a good meaty texture but were sadly lacking in spices.
We hoped that the main courses would be better but again they were a mixed bag. The lamb tikka bhuna had large pieces of lamb that were not particularly tender and, once again, the sauce was disappointingly bland. The only comment made about the balti chicken tikka madras was "Mmm..." but unfortunately, this was not a "Mmm...tasty!" but a "Mmm..?" of indecision. The special balti chicken tikka bhuna had a good, thick gunky spicy sauce. The chicken pieces were a bit on the large size so weren't infused with the curry/tikka flavour. There were lots of onions in the sauce but they were a bit too raw. The chicken tikka could have been a bit more "tikkaed" but apart from that was excellent and there was lots of it. It came with a huge salad but would have benefited from a bit of red sauce or mint sauce. The chicken passanda was average. The main dishes were accompanied by a selection of nans and a portion of pilau rice. Although the rice was light and fluffy, once again the standard of the nans was variable. All of the garlic nans were very garlicky but one of them was unacceptably burnt underneath. The plain nan was nothing special but not bad either.
With the standard of the food being so variable, I think it will probably be a long time before we go there again. However, the restaurant was fairly busy for a Wednesday night and a number of other diners seemed to be regulars so perhaps it was on off night. A visit to the gents was a bit off putting and we would recommend that this pleasure be saved for after your meal or preferably wait until you get home. If you are a Kingfisher addict then be prepared for an expensive evening! £4.20 per pint really is unbelievable considering that Kingfisher is available at most licensed Indian restaurants for, perhaps, 10% more than their standard lager.
Which gives an overall rating of 3 bhajis.