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 easyCurry, Northampton
 Thursday, 24 July 2008
  restaurant factfile

This restaurant has been very much in the local news, the national news, and even international news. In case you missed it, they'd stood and fought against Sir Stelios's easyGroup with regards their name and branding. It's not hard to see why, since everything from the typeface used in their signs to the orange coloured napkins on the tables has been designed to resemble that of easyJet. They lost the fight, and the restaurant will be changing its name at some point. The publicity has been priceless.

Apart from the controversial name, the unique selling point here is that you only pay £5 plus whatever you feel is worth the extra. And drinks on top of that. Upon walking in we were directed to the bar where we each had to pay our £5 upfront, and then take our choice of seating. The restaurant is large, and being in Sol Central I imagine they'd get hundreds of covers over a weekend. There were about 30 people in on this Thursday evening, but with so many tables it still felt fairly empty. The age of the customers was generally younger than average, which is no surprise given the price and location.

What you get for your £5 cover charge starts with a popadom each, along with 3 dips (red onions, mint sauce, chutney). Next is a choice of starters, and we had onion bhajis and sheek kebabs. They were slightly smaller portions than average, but the taste and texture of both was pretty much perfect.

We both accidentally selected the same main course, the Chicken Tikka Nansai which was the easyCurry speciality. This was accompanied by a Plain Nan, Keema Nan, Bombay Potatoes and Cauliflower Bhaji. The portion sizes for the curries was on the small side, but the chicken was very tender and the fruity mango sauce was tasty and quite hot. The nan breads were just about perfect, with the keema actually being nicely succulent and not the dried-out meat so often encountered. The side dishes were more than acceptable too. Dessert is also included as standard, with a choice between vanilla or chocolate ice-cream. Three small scoops, but probably more than is found in a kulfi.

Hot towels were provided, and chocolates came with the drinks bill. We'd ordered 1 small bottle of beer, and 2.5 pints of Coke, and the bill came to £7.30. We had a battle with our consciences as to whether to leave the minimum or to pay some extra. In the end we left a tenner, which the waiter accepted quite happily. I was half-expecting a guilt trip from him, but wasn't made to feel that way at all. I guess they're used to people just paying the minimum and are happy to take anything they can on top. The publicity and business model is genius, and we look forward to a return visit whatever its renamed.

The Scores

Food4.5
Service5
Ambience4
Value5

Which gives an overall rating of 4.5 bhajis.

DishRatingBy
Chicken Tikka Nansai4RonnieC
Chicken Tikka Nansai4.5SteveB