Good Old Fashioned High Road Curry House

Can anyone remember a time before the Geetanjali Tandoori?

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Geentanjali Tandoori Restaurant, 470 Chiswick High Road W4 5TT
Tel. 020 8994 0702


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The Geetanjali Tandoori (or Pete ‘n’ Charlie’s as I call it) must surely be a West Chiswick institution. Can any anybody remember a time when it wasn’t there?

It’s seen off all the various incarnations of its next door neighbour – The Ganges, Le Parisienne, Libation, Garni and its next door neighbour but three The Taj. So what’s the secret to this drab, unassuming, little place’s longevity?

After more than quarter of a century in West Chiswick I’ve never been to the Geetanjali, which is a serious oversight so I decided to give it a go.

The point with Geetanjali is there are no surprises – it’s a good old fashioned curry house – the sort of place you’d go for a Ruby Murray. I had a neighbour who supported Sheffield United and he and his mates went to the Geetanjali whenever their team lost. I can’t remember the year so I don’t know by how much they swelled the Geetanjali coffers, but if it had been Brentford..........

The menu is the standard fare you’ve seen a hundred times before, in curry houses where they don’t feel the need to follow the leads set by the new wave like Chutney Mary and Vineet Bhatia. Such is the soothing familiarity of Geetanjali that an elderly acquaintance, who swears he never eats foreign food, regularly gets take-aways from there .

Although when I’ve walked past it, especially on a Saturday, it looks busy, the night we went it was virtually empty. But then it was cold and wet and there was probably football on the tele.

We had the usual – papadums with pickles, chicken pakora and onion bhajee followed by saag paneer, chana dall, brinjal bhajee, and chicken tikka jalfrezi and a naan.

There are couple of nods to modernity – they’ve painted over the flocked wallpaper – you can tell be running your hand over it and feeling the bumps – and the sitar music
has been jazzed up.

But it is the food that counts and that was good , in a middle of the road sort of way.
I was particularly taken with the onion bhajees, because so many restaurants get them wrong. These had lots of onions and not to much flour rather than the other way round.
Everything tasted like it should. We weren’t left with the impression that the chef had a universal tomato sauce which was augmented with a pinch of spice according to what was ordered.

And the food is not too greasy – I suspect ghee has been substituted by vegetable oil.
The saag paneer (my baseline in any Indian restaurant) was ace with great big lumps of paneer, which is unusual as so many restaurants offer little lumps of paneer in lots of spinach.
I really liked the aubergine (brinjal bhajee) too, it was well cooked with some subtle spicing. The chickpeas (chana dall) was good as was just about everything else. Not exciting, just good.
Chicken Pakora, chicken pieces fried in a light batter was declared delicious by my carnivorous companion, but the chicken jalfrezi was only awarded a ‘reasonable’ judgement. It lost points for not being as hot as expected. He also complained that his meal was too chickeny, but admitted that it as his own fault for choosing it.

So what else could we have chosen? There’s something for everybody – tandooris, baltis, birianis, dansaks and lamb, chicken and prawn curries in all varieties – korma, dupiaza, gosht, bhuna, tikka massala and, for the brave and foolhardy, vindloos and phalls. Together with usual selection of vegetarian dishes.

There’s a reasonable choice of wines, beers and, of course, lager and the prices are a lot less that a ticket to a football match. Our bill which included a shared kulfi, a bottle of reasonable wine and two coffees came to £49.00.

So, whether your team is a loser or a winner, when only a Ruby and a pint of lager will do, get down to Pete & Charlie’s.

Penny Flood

March 7, 2008