There are few things worse than a bad curry.
Well, perhaps a slight exaggeration. But we all identify with the symptoms of a poorly made curry. That sickening and bloated feeling. The cloying, bottom of a birdcage-like taste in your mouth the day after. And of course, the involuntarily explosive bowel movements.
Since moving to Preston, I haven’t experienced many culinary delights. I visited the Inn at Whitewell for a birthday event, and have been to a few eateries around Winckley Square. But it was only last week that I had my first curry in Preston, at King Karai in Ashton-on-Ribble.
I was annoyed with myself for leaving it this long, for curry is now as much a tradition as the full English breakfast. We adore the Korma, we praise the poppadum and gnaw at naan bread. Curry has in many ways become a staple part of the British diet, replacing poorly reheated pub food.
My companions and I visited Karai midweek and were the first to arrive for our evening meal. Having somewhat of a soft spot for American-style diners, I was very taken with the booth seating, high backed settees that seated six to a table. The room was bright and spacious.
After the obligatory poppadums, our small party selected a range of dishes. I chose Chicken Madras while the other two ordered restaurant specialities (a wise choice), with naan bread and pilau rice to accompany. Food arrived swiftly and with a smile, and we duly tucked in.
Madras is too often an opportunity to blitz the diner with spices, and send them home with significant nerve damage to the tongue. In some restaurants, I can almost imagine the chef maniacally cackling while sprinkling chili powder into the sauce, when all the while I sit unaware of the culinary fireball that’s about to come my way.
There was no such blitzkrieg at King Karai. Instead what greeted me was a concoction of excellent flavour, spicy but with the essential flavours still intact. Nor was the sauce too oily, as is common at some curry houses. Equal parts spicy and wholesome, I thoroughly enjoyed my dish. Judging by the barely disguised grins on my friends faces’, so did they.
As we ate, more customers began to arrive in dribs and drabs. The booth seating allows one to enjoy the hubbub of atmosphere as more diners begin to natter, but also a degree of privacy that encourages conversation without having to shout over the sound of others.
Overall, King Karai provides a thoroughly enjoyable dining experience. Service is attentive without being pushy, the atmosphere is buzzing but not deafening, and the food is first rate. A recommended eatery, and definitely worth the fair walk out of town to work up an appetite!
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Agree? Disagree? What Preston restaurants do you recommend? Comment with your views below.