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 Mumtaz, Northampton
 Tuesday, 28 May 2002
  restaurant factfile

Another new curry house in Northampton. At first glance, this looks like one of those nouvelle tandoori places with small portions and high prices. The décor and furnishings were straight out of the IKEA catalogue - walls painted various shades of pink, blue and purple with numerous mirrors scattered around. The dining area is split in two with the smoking area down a few steps in what appears to be a hut-like extension! Anyway, not realising that it was the smoking area, we opted to sit there and were immediately placed next to the only other diners. For once there was a bit of logic in this as shortly after the other tables were hustled together in preparation for the arrival of a large group.

For starters - we may be getting a little predictable but what the hell? For the first time in ages, the sheek kebabs arrived on a sizzler and they were huge, nay, massive and were expertly spiced giving a delicate flavour. The onion bhajis were two large flat disks with an OK texture but a bland taste. Fortunately, the bright orange splatter (this seems to be becoming the most popular colour) lifted their flavour up a couple of levels.

For the third curry in a row, we were asked if we wanted to wait a while for our main dishes (we reckon someone somewhere has been offering cheap customer care courses!). Despite the size of the starters, we opted to press on. The Chicken Pathia was one of the best yet - a rich, thick sauce crammed full of fruit and veg and chicken. With the Chicken Bhuna, the chicken pieces were generally too large and flavourless but the tasty sauce want a long way to compensate. Asbestos mouthed PhilS chose the Chicken Chilli Massalla. Again the chunks of meat were a bit cumbersome. Through the flames emanating from his mouth, he described it as "Fairly hot, but not too hot to ruin the flavour. Quite a few whole chillies, but luckily they weren't too hot". The nans were exceptionally good. Both of the cheese variety were, unusually, discernibly cheesy and, as well as the plain nan, had a good fluffy texture.

Despite its downmarket location (how else would you describe an area around the corner from where both SteveB and IanD have once lived!), the Mumtaz was quite luxurious. Once again, the waiters were very friendly (been on that course) - every one of them made a point of asking if we required popadoms and popped up at least once during the meal to enquire if we were enjoying it. Everything was huge - starters, main dishes and nans. The draught beer was cheap so the final bill including the tip was very reasonable. It may look like one of them trendy places but The Mumtaz proves that you can have all that and still provide good food at reasonable prices.

The Scores

Food4.5
Service4.5
Ambience4.5
Value4.5

Which gives an overall rating of 4.5 bhajis.

DishRatingBy
Chicken Pathia5IanD
Chicken Chilli Massalla4.5PhilS
Chicken Bhuna4SteveB