We often talk about “going for an Indian”, but the truth is, Indian food is incredibly diverse. While the north of the country tends to use huge amounts of dairy and rely heavily on Tandoor clay ovens, the south is known for its fried snacks, and other areas are famed for their fish, vegetarian and sweet dishes, respectively.
Luckily for us, Basingstoke has a huge amount of choice in terms of Indian restaurants: some specialising in the cuisine of one particular region, others offering a menu that gives a great introduction to the sheer variety of India’s regional differences. So, if you’re looking for an Indian restaurant in Basingstoke, we definitely recommend checking out these five first…
Just south of Festival Place on Wote Street is Chennai Express, making it ideally placed for a pre- or post-shopping meal with friends or family. Specialising in Southern Indian dishes, we love its street food style: it’s a vibrantly decorated place with wooden slatted walls painted with bold, bright artwork; funky coloured chairs, and an open plan kitchen where you can see your meal being prepared. It’s a great way to experience dishes from India’s southernmost states, where health and flavour combine in a range of choices that are totally different from the average Anglicised curry house experience. Try the masala dosa – a savoury crepe stuffed with spiced mashed potato – or the tangy, tamarind-based fish curry.
Festival Place’s Spicy Tadka restaurant opened in mid-2015: a beautifully decorated restaurant where the presentation of the food is equally visually appealing. Here, everything is cooked to order, and the focus is on spice, not heat – there are plenty of milder choices available, too. North Indian dishes and other Spicy Tadka specialities are the must-try choices: we love the mildly spiced aloo tikki potato patties with their sweet yet tart tamarind chutney, as well as their South Indian lamb chettinadu with its aromatic blend of black pepper, curry leaves and coconut.
On the south side of Basingstoke, in The Viables Craft Centre, you’ll find The Towers: an award-winning Indian restaurant with a very traditional feel. The “Welcome” sign on the door when you walk in is a precursor to the fantastic service you’ll receive while you’re there, and by the woodburning stove downstairs is a great place to warm up during the colder months. We tend to order from the House Special Dishes section of the menu: the warming Adhaa Lamb, in a medium-spiced ginger and coconut milk-spiked sauce, is one of our favourites.
The Red Rose
The red theme pervades The Red Rose on Buckland Avenue, with the restaurant’s neon lights, chairs, napkins and even the carpet in a crimson hue that gives the place a cosy feel. This Indian and Bangladeshi restaurant has an incredibly extensive food offering, designed to reflect the diversity in Asia’s regional cuisine. All the old favourites are on the menu, but if you’re looking to try something new, the fragrant Garlic Jhal Chicken or – if you like it hot – the tender lentil-based Lamb Rajastani are the dishes to go for.
Tuli Indian Cuisine
Tuli Indian Cuisine on London Street, at the top of town, has been around for a while – and its popularity shows no sign of waning anytime soon! It’s a beautiful place, with white linen tablecloths and the service and buzzing atmosphere are always spot on. The menu is certainly diverse, making it a great choice for big groups. Portions are generous, and it’s easy to find something a bit different to try if you don’t want to stick to the classics. Try the Chicken Darzaling – a mild chicken tikka, cooked in a creamy butter, honey, almond and mushroom sauce – for a tasty change.