As champions of Best Local Restaurant in last year’s Food and Drink Awards, Ting Dalton heads to Indus to discover its winning formula…
When an eatery wins T&L’s prestigious Best Local Restaurant award that’s a big deal… So my expectations were high as I entered Indus’ glass doors to escape the gusty winds and cold outside. We were greeted with warm smiles by the attentive waiters, and a contemporary interior in warm muted tones, set off by the ochre and orange artwork adorning the walls. I was surprised at how busy the restaurant was considering it was so early in the week. Clearly, we were in for a treat…
Established in 1991, Indus has been a Banstead favourite for over 25 years serving up Indian cuisine that uses locally sourced ingredients, as well as a continually evolving menu, shaped by the diners’ developing tastes over time. The result? An expansive choice of dishes you would typically expect such as kormas, bhunas and dhansaks, with all the accompaniments you could wish for including onion bhajees and Bombay potatoes. But what really caught my eye as we were seated at a table set with crisp white linen and elegantly arranged dinnerware, was Indus’ Signature Menu. As Indus’ friendly owner Shah explained, because these dishes are ancient recipes with a modern twist, crafted specially by the chef, they’re not on offer from Thursday through to Saturday, as the kitchens are just too busy to be able to devote the time needed to execute them.
My mum and I immediately ditched the main menu in favour of trying the Signature dishes, but it was tough deciding as they all sounded so mouth-wateringly delicious. I finally chose the Aloo Raja er Chana Misal – a stuffed potato cake – as an appetiser, followed by a 900-year recipe of the Tandoor Se Kazana – prime meat kebabs in a spicy hot sauce served with rice.
While we waited for our meals, we tucked into the poppadums, so light and crispy and not at all greasy. Even better were the sauces. The mango chutney was tangy and not sickly sweet; the lime pickle marvellously zingy, while the mint and yoghurt hari was fresh and creamy with a hint of coriander.
When my potato cakes arrived, pan-fried and served on a bed of spicy fried chickpeas with a delicate tamarind chutney, I marvelled at the portion size – I was given two – but that didn’t stop me from devouring them both. Light, and delicately spiced, they were a joy to eat. Meanwhile, my meat kebabs cooked in 18 different spices were a sensation on the palette. Spicy hot, the curry packed a punch but the meat tender and the sauce full of flavour. My mum was equally impressed with her dishes of spiced monkfish and a chicken, lamb and prawn medley cooked in a fenugreek spicy sauce. It beat her, so huge was her plate.
I am glad we got to experience the Signature dishes, which showcased Indus’ winning appeal – and is why customers voted it their favourite local restaurant in 2017. If, like me, you’re a curry traditionalist and usually stick to the same dishes every time you order, I urge you to go against the grain and try something new – I promise it will be worth it.
Having been a local resident for many years, I am still at a loss to why it has taken me so long to enjoy a meal at Indus but better late than never. While I am not by any means a curry connoisseur, I do eat a lot of them and my dinner at Indus is quite possibly one of the best curries I’ve eaten in a long while…
WINNER: BEST LOCAL RESTAURANT // TIME & LEISURE FOOD AND DRINK AWARDS 2017
13 Nork Way, Banstead, SM7 1PB
01737 371065/ 370816