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Restaurant review, The Brittannia Gurkha Restaurant and Bar, Colchester: “Sensational set menu and sweet service”

PUBLISHED: 11:51 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:45 07 December 2017

Main course dishes at the Brittannia Gurkha Restaurant and Bar. Picture: Mark Edwards

Main course dishes at the Brittannia Gurkha Restaurant and Bar. Picture: Mark Edwards

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Mark Edwards finds a warm welcome and fine Gurkha curries at The Britannia Gurkha Restaurant and Bar in Colchester.

Food

Sometimes it is nice not to have to make a decision. We were a little late to the Britannia Gurkha Restaurant and Bar as my eldest son had spent close to an hour in front of the bathroom mirror debating which side of his head to sweep his quiff to.

Luckily, the menu at this popular Nepalese establishment in Meyrick Crescent, just off Mersea Road, provided no cause for further indecision as it is set each day and you get what they give you – and it’s delicious from start to finish.

This delightful place has been run by three generations of a Gurkha family for almost five years. They hail from Western Nepal, in the foothills of the Annapurna mountain range, but settled in Colchester through their links with the British Army.

Images of the snowy peaks of their homeland adorn the walls, along with Nepalese handicrafts and images of a couple of Gurkha-friendly British treasures – the Queen and Joanna Lumley.

The waiting staff were all unfailingly sweet and friendly on a busy night with every table filled. There was a large party seated at a long, refectory-like table and the food, brought out in ornate copper bowls, is ideal for sharing.

We began with poppadoms with a sweet and tart tamarind sauce. My two sons and my partner immediately started wolfing down the crispy shards and I found it went down great with some Gurkha beer.

Next came a plate of pakora – balls of broccoli and onions fried in chickpea batter – with some spicy potatoes. It was heavy comfort food, ideal for a winter’s night when temperatures had dropped below freezing.

The main course was a choice of curries – lamb, chicken and vegetable – along with a bowl of lentil dal, a ‘special’ vegetable dish for my vegetarian partner, loads of naan bread and some steamed rice.

The curries were not that delicately flavoured, but they were tasty and satisfying and we found ourselves mopping up every last drop with the naan bread.

The dal was a creamy balm to the more fiery curries and the vegetable dishes were very tasty. The ‘special’ one, which contained paneer cheese, lived up to its billing. It was delicious and my partner had to guard it to make sure she had the lion’s share.

The boys enjoyed the chicken curry, which was creamier and milder than the lamb.

The meal was rounded off by a slice of homemade chocolate cake each, which just added to the cosy, family feel of the evening. It was like being invited to someone’s home for dinner.

The fixed menus change every day with fish and mutton dishes among the options.

Where to go for a delicious, family-friendly meal out is now a decision that has been made a lot easier.

Drink

It was recommended by our waitress I try a bottle of Gurkha Beer and it is a smooth, not too gassy beer which quenched by thirst from the fiery dishes. My partner had a glass of Merlot and my boys had a couple of lemonade each.

Ambiance

The restaurant is sequestered in an anteroom at the Britannia pub and has a cosy and friendly feel, broken only occasionally when the connecting door to the pub is opened and its noisier Saturday night charms are heard.

Service

Waiting staff were all unfailingly polite and have fascinating stories about their homeland once coaxed.

Parking

There are five car parking bays outside the front of the pub and we nabbed the last one on arrival - cashback!

Price

£15 each for my partner and I to have the set meal and just £7.50 each for the children. Considering the quality of food and the amount - requested extra bowls of rice were included in the price. A bargain.

Highlight

The ‘special’ vegetarian dish with paneer cheese. Lived up to its name.

Summary

A welcoming and warm place that is a real experience to eat at. Manages to be exotic and homely all at once. We’ll be back very soon.

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