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The decor does little to suggest that you are in an Indian restaurant. No traditional prints, rugs or elephant ornaments mark the place in traditional cliches. There are few embellishments, save for some glam chandeliers, an enormous fake diamond perched on a counter top and a regal ox statue standing over the warmth of a tea-candle. Overall the look is sleek, stylish and simple. Funky, retro vinyl banquette seating is a highlight (even though its well worn patches are showing six years of bottom traffic). Bench seating is an option for those hip to it, and a small patio area brings diners closer to the bustling community of Norwood Parade. Undressed, laminated tables are a practical measure – the fall-out from a good curry session is unforgiving on white linen. Fans of this trademark Indian dish should be happy with the range at Charminar. Chef Palam Manes declares the duck curry, butter chicken and lamb rogan josh to be his most popular dishes (although the tandoori oven quite rightfully offers some stiff competition).
Coriander chicken tikka stands out – its black salt dressing seasoning a tandoori-cooked bird, marinated in the fresh herb and spices. Tossed baby spinach adds to the appeal of this dish. "Crispy bagain" is a novel sounding vegetarian option from the tandoori and features strong flavours in progression: a marinade in tamarind, fennel, curry leaves and mild chilli. The specials include a seafood biryani – mussels, scallops and prawns huddled in tomato- and vegetable-infused basmati rice. No salads make an appearance on the single-page laminated menu, however it provides assurance that vegetables can be added to curries. For a varied Charminar experience you may like to visit the other locations at Brighton, Prospect and Klemzig.