After a good hike yesterday afternoon a few beers and a curry were called for. We couldn't be bothered heading into town so decided to stay local in Horsforth. My drinking companion had been happy enough with takeaways ordered from The Last Viceroy in the past, so we thought we'd give the restaurant a try.
On arrival the door was open but no-one was inside. Strange. The place was completely deserted. After a few moments confusion we realised the curry house had moved into the bar next door, Enigma. They appear to be operating as both bar and restaurant, as a drinking area has been retained at the front, the lights were dimmed and the music loud. It made for a rather incongruous atmosphere as practically everyone in there was dining. Upping the lights and downing the volume would have been a good idea.
To start we ordered the liver and mushroom tikka and the vegetable samosa's, plus a couple of poppadoms and the pickle tray to get the ball rolling. The pickle tray was fairly bog standard stuff except for a nice vinegary coriander and mint concoction that stood out from the rest.
The liver tikka grabbed my attention because Akbar's do this dish, and it's excellent. The liver has a smoky, crusty exterior giving way to a soft, smooth pink centre. Lovely. Unfortunately this wasn't so good. The liver was overcooked, uniformly grey and not very appealing. It was also marinaded in something sweet and sticky, not like any tikka marinade I've ever known.
The samosa's were a complete disaster. Problem number one; - they were those small catering freezer pack ones. I don't know why otherwise decent Indian restaurants put them on the menu if they can't be bothered making their own. Problem number two; - they were still frozen in the middle. Fair play to the restaurant though, they offered us a free round of drinks to apologise.
Things improved rapidly with the arrival of the mains. A fish karahi was richly spiced and absolutely packed full of chunky white fish fillets.
A lamb handi was also good, with plenty of tender shreds of lamb falling off the bones. The sauce was a bit too oily though.
A nan bread arrived on the now ubiquitous nan tree and was very light and crisp. The chapattis also arrived folded and hooked onto the tree. Indian restaurants seem to be getting a bit carried away with these things. It's only a matter of time before one of them invents the meat tree, and a mixed grill will arrive with seekh kebabs dangling from a two foot tall metal spike. Pilau rice was fine.
I don't really know how to sum this place up. The atmosphere is a bit weird, the starters were terrible and the curries and breads were very good. Prices were reasonable (our food bill came to £32 not including drinks or service). A very mixed bag, but it definitely has potential. Decide whether they are running a bar or a restaurant, make a bit more effort with the starters and it could be very good.
The Last Viceroy at Enigma
145 New Road Side