At first glance, The Grand could be mistaken as a trendy hair salon, but then why would any of us have a need to visit somewhere like that? The place had been newly refurbished, obviously at some expense. Décor was fairly minimal with various shades of purple and pink evident. There was a bar area at the front of the restaurant with the dining area towards the back. There were a few booth style tables with padded bench seats, along with the standard tables. For a Wednesday evening, there was a brisk trade, but this did not affect the service.
The waiters didn't seem to be assigned to particular tables as we were asked by 3 of them for popadoms, although they didn't mind that we declined them. A drinks order was taken for 3 pints of Carlsberg, but going by the head on the drinks, the lager appeared to be from cans.
As usual, one sheek kebab and 2 lots of onion bhajis were ordered for starters. The bhajis were flat with a crispy outer layer and succulent onions inside, but unfortunately lacked in flavour. The kebabs arrived on a sizzler with a generous helping of onions, but again, could have been spicier. After a long delay while the waiter searched for a suitable serving dish, the splatter finally arrived. And what an interesting splatter it turned out to be. The colour resembled mushy peas, whilst it contained small lumps giving the impression it had been through a liquidiser. Nevertheless, it tasted fine.
SteveB's Chicken Rogan Josh had a tasty sauce with large chunks of tomatoes and red peppers, containing perfectly tender chicken. As IanD spotted it first, he went for the Chicken Pathia which was rated as excellent - a thick spicy sauce with plenty of succulent chicken pieces. Unfortunately, a point was lost for having too much ghee. A Chicken Dansak was had by PhilS, which was well tasty with plenty of perfectly cooked chicken. This dish also had the same 'liquidised' look as the splatter. The consensus on the nans was that they were spot on. IanD couldn't remember having a better plain nan for a long time, while SteveB (garlic) and PhilS (keema) rated them as the best they have ever had.
Although The Grand doesn't look like or sound like a traditional curry house, the food certainly is akin to that associated with one. This is reflected in the score, which places it in joint first place. Another visit will surely be on the books, even if just for the nans.
Which gives an overall rating of 4.5 bhajis.