A real gem on the High Road

Annapurna serves up a first-rate ruby


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Historically, my approach to eating Indian food sat on par with my approach to eating kebabs ie. only after a good few drinks so I didn’t worry about a) the calories and b) what I was actually eating (sadly in that order!).

However, since my dear husband’s revelation that Andy's kebabs actually taste just as good when I am sober, I decided it was time to give the same opportunity to Indian food.

Therefore after only one small glass of wine in All Bar One, I strolled along the High Road with three friends to Annapurna, an Indian restaurant situated close to Chiswick Lane. Known as the restaurant of choice amongst the more discerning curry enthusiast, Annapurna has a well established (and well deserved) reputation for fine Indian cuisine.

The restaurant itself is fresh and bright with cream walls and dark blue carpets and upholstery, a far cry its flocked wallpapered contemporaries. The staff are welcoming, attentive and devoid of the over-subservient demeanour that I find irritatingly unnecessary from some of their fellow country men. Another plus was that the staff are keen to help with suggestions of dishes, a real advantage to someone like me who finds menus in Indian restaurants rather daunting.

The menu states “If there is a dish you would like that is not listed on the menu, kindly enquire with the manager and if possible within the time available we will be happy to prepare it for you.” Hard to imagine given the extent of the menu however, on this occasion both the waiter's assistance and the offer of further dishes proved superfluous as one of my dining companions is a true pro when it comes to Indian food (and is also a regular visitor to Annapurna).

We began with the obligatory papadums and chutneys to accompany the men’s beer and the ladies’ passable house white and went onto share Sheek Kebabs (minced lamb mixed with onions and special herbs) and Tandoori Lamb Chops. For some reason I found the notion of eating lamb chops in an Indian Restaurant a bit like ordering egg and chips in France (something I wouldn’t dream of doing) but I couldn’t have been further from the truth. These were deliciously succulent lean lamb chops covered in tandoori spices then flame grilled and were so enjoyable that any thought of ever eating plain chops with mint sauce again went straight out of the window.

We shared Murgh Shatkora (diced chicken cooked in Annapurna’s own recipe sauce), Murgh Dopiyaza (chicken cooked in tomato onions and peppers), Saag Aloo (spinach and potato dish) and pilau rice as our main courses. Each dish was a distinctive and flavourful as the next but, for me, we had peaked early with the lamb chops!

Starters at Annapurna cost from £2.50, mains from £5.50 (restaurant specials between £6.95 and £8.95) vegetable dishes, which can also be served as a main course, start from £3.25 and rice and breads from £1.20.  This is a real gem of an Indian restaurant and at just over £20 a head for a great meal with wine it proves good value too.

The only down side for me was that yet another cuisine has been crossed off my list of those only to be consumed after a few drinks when I've thrown calorific caution to the wind – please nobody recommend an excellent burger bar, I don’t think my wardrobe could cope!

Emma Brophy


April 22, 2006