Taste of India, Hillsborough, Sheffield (61%)


Friday 10th June 2016.

What a splendidly peachy opener. A juicy, curling wonder pop setting Pony hearts a pitter-patter. (Who wouldn’t back France?) A slightly belchy hurrah splitting the convivial air of The Hillsborough Hotel momentarily.

And, while I’m at it, a thousand splendid not-bad-sons go to the inaugural Curry Sheff Club outing. It unfolded like a silky nightie fresh out the Debo’s bag. Everywhere we graced rooms opened up like ripe, horny oyster shells; oases of genial chumminess shone like bright pearls in the Hillsborough gloaming. Though not quite penetrating the gloomy innards of the WMC, I imagine, where re-runs of ‘The Charmer’ murmur below the rattle of antique smoker’s wheezes and mild invective.

Shabby chic Ship Inn > Tram carriage up lugubrious Langsett > Hillsborough epicentre, Taste Of India > hinterland haven, Hillsborough Hotel. With the elegance and precision of a well-oiled mantle clock we glided hither and thither; harried and harrumphed by a well-oiled, mental clot!

The pickle trays were right there, proud as punch, pre-empting the menus. Limeless, it’s true, but, otherwise, the predictable and timeless. The Indian vibes and decor presenting a conventional curry house exemplar, not exactly dazzling. A superior array of familiar starters though, shared out with meticulous equality – relished the sheek kebab (Fiona Fullerton in that Debo’s nightie); text book onion bhaji’s, just missing a kick. The samosas, however, were unconvincing (Nigel Havers in ‘When Did You Last See Your Trousers?’). Draught Cobra and bottled Kingfisher. From there it somewhat dropped off. Patchy service. My naga lamb tough as old jerky. Much better options dunked and snaffled. Sealed and sanitary, the last hot towel arrives, finally. Face-splashing the ripped free wipe I figure the bill a clean twenty.

A single Wild West saloon door swaying unsteadily on its hinge made for a curious entrance to the Ladies/Disabled toilet. At any minute, half expecting a cheroot-chewing cowgirl, guns blazing. Fittingly too – the joint was Deadwood by sundown. The Blue Ball over yonder glowered, brooding on a violent history.

taste of india new

Judge ‘Gonzo’ Pickles
Jason Paine
Andy Clarke
Laura Bowman
Ashley Rogers
Chris Illsley
Shaun Wild
Pete Fitzpatrick
Dave Latimer
Pauline McHarg
James Loukes
Simon Burton
Charlie Sykes



  1. Andy top table clarks · · Reply

    It was a good night, with the service on the top table very good, shame it was not on the 2nd table! I thought the pickle tray was a bit watery! And welcome to the folks out for the first time.


  2. Jason was on the real top table Paine · · Reply

    All in all a good effort on the food but there were issues elsewhere…

    The Onion Bhajis were top and just needed a touch more spice to achieve greatness. The starter was defined as mixed kebab but really should have been called a mixed bag. The Sheek Kebab was well cooked and balanced very nicely with flavour whilst the Shami Kebab was ok but seemed lost. Also included was another Onion Bhaji, no complaints there. Our table also ordered the samosas which unfortunately were underdone and rather like Audley Harrison they lacked punch.

    Moving onto the main for which I plumped for the Gosht Kalia which was beautifully cooked lamb pumped up with green chillies and really hit the spot. The accompaniments weren’t quite in the same league, the rice and naan whilst cooked well, had that been too long on the pass (more later on that) appearance and taste.

    All the above was washed down with a couple of pints of draught Cobra but no Irish Coffee this time, that will wait for the next trip.

    Coming in at £20 a head for table was good although I did have one major gripe…

    When you are on the designated top table due to being sat with Gonzo, you expect the best service. Sadly the bottom table were well served whilst the top table had a long delay for the mains, that long that were virtually getting their coats on before our mains arrived. Due to the delay the main meal accompaniments referred to above were obviously ready before the main meals themselves.

    Sort it out Taste of India and I’ll be back although I think Gonzo will give it a wide berth.


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