If you’ve run the most important restaurant in Bristol, opening your first solo enterprise have to be a relative stroll within the park, particularly when it’s a fraction of the scale.
Vinay Reddy was once the chief chef and operations supervisor of the large ‘eat-as-much-as-you like’ restaurant Za Za Bazaar within the Harbourside.
For his first restaurant, he has taken a a lot smaller website on the nook of Clare Road and St Stephen’s Road. It is a house that was beforehand a department of Subway however one which has an extended and extra fascinating historical past than that as this spectacular Victorian-built nook constructing dates again to 1889 and it was initially town’s County Fireplace Workplace.
With its twinkling fairylights and large arched home windows on two sides, the restaurant is mild and surprisingly spacious for its dimension. The chairs are painted assorted colors and one wall is dominated by a road art-style mural. It’s up to date and relaxed, extra of a spot to pop in for a fast chew after work or on the best way to an evening out than a spot to decorate up.
Heading up the kitchen at Dhamaka is chef Jyotirmoy Patra, who skilled in India, the place he labored in some notable eating places earlier than working kitchens in five-star motels in Dubai.
Since shifting to the UK he labored on the extremely regarded Michelin-starred Mayfair restaurant Benares.
That’s to not say the meals at Dhamaka is making an attempt to be effective eating. It’s not. That is extra about informal Indian eating, with many dishes impressed by road meals.
Lots of the dishes are ‘small plates’ such because the barbecued hen wings glazed with sizzling and bitter tamarind sauce, and the vegetarian-friendly pea and corn sheekh (minced peas and potato crusted with candy corn cooked within the tandoori oven).
The clay tandoor oven was used to prepare dinner my starter of tiger prawns ajwaini (£7.85) – two monumental, meaty specimens encased in blackened shells which had been butterflied to disclose the juicy prawns inside.
There’s loads of selection on the subject of the ‘small plates’ and starters – a big group may order a quantity to share – however there are additionally a dozen major course-size curry bowls served with a naan bread and rice (basmati or pulao).
Priced from £11.25 to £12.25, these embrace staples like hen korma and lamb bhuna, but additionally Goan fish curry and goat curry.
I went for the hen Madras (£11.25) which wasn’t as fierce as these I’ve had in additional conventional excessive road curry homes. It was creamier and extra aromatic, reasonably than fiery, though it nonetheless retained a delicate kick that step by step constructed up. The beneficiant chunks of hen had been tender and smoky from the tandoor.
A bowl of rice was steaming sizzling and loose-grained and the garlic-studded naan bread was thinner and extra delicate than the thick and heavy 16.5 tog duvets served elsewhere.
To complete, from a concise dessert choice, a trio of kulfi ice lotions (£4.25) included the standard pistachio but additionally a scrumptious almond selection and a Malai kulfi that will nicely have had saffron within the combine judging from its mild spiciness.
In a nook of town centre already nicely served with good high quality Indian eating places, Dhamaka is providing one thing a little bit bit totally different when it comes to its extra informal, ‘drop in’ type and road food-inspired dishes. It’s a welcome new addition.