One of my many fond memories was stopping for a bite to eat in Lochgilphead, which is about forty minutes from the secret haven of Port Ban and just about two hours from Glasgow. The restaurant consists of about four tables, but luckily you are able to order a takeaway.
The staff are always willing and welcoming, and considering we have been visiting the Taj Mahal for a good decade, it's nice to know that they still have their passion for service.
They have a good, strong menu full to the brim of curries and sundries with mouth watering descriptions - it truly is a challenge to make a decision.
|Chicken tikka masala, chicken chilli masala and lamb chilli masala - just three of the amazing dishes on offer.|
Whilst making your decision, poppadoms and a selection of four accompaniaments are set in front of you to nibble. The yellow sauce has always been a family favourite (and is the first to go!) guessed to be a mixture of coconut milk and tamarind. I suggest you go and taste it for yourself! Next is a selection of crunchy pickles in a tangy, sour coating - absolutely fantastic on top of the crispy poppadoms. There is also a large portion of mango chutney, which is sweet, thick and absolutely mouth watering. Personally I'd say it's better than the real thing. The fourth and final addition is a portion of spiced onions. Sliced as opposed to cubed, the teaspoon is rendered useless so prepare to get your fingers sticky! Nevertheless, they consist of a slight kick with that usual potent onion taste - fantastic.
For starters, my sister Sharon and I went for the mixed pakora. I was slightly disappointed that they provided mushroom pakora instead of vegetable. For those who know me, I really despise mushrooms! Sharon is a fan, and for the sake of the review, they were hot, flavoursome and coated in a soft batter. The chicken pakora was a delight, and a small side salad helped take the minor sting from the pakora sauce.
My partner Ryan ordered the tandoori chicken. He absolutely adored it - a good spicy kick to it, and marinated so that the succulent chicken was completely caked in the smoky, spicy coating . The meat fell off the bone, and again it was served with a side salad of shredded lettuce and cucumber.
I am a huge fan of lamb when it comes to curry, but I am very pernickety about how it is cooked and the texture. I fully trust the expertise of the chef, so I opted for the lamb chilli masala. Well, wow. The lamb was tender and fell apart when I was cutting it. The tomato and chilli sauce was spicy and thick, perfect for dipping garlic naan bread! Ryan ordered the chicken version of my dish, and again, no complaints.
|My lamb chilli masala + garlic naan|
My father decided to go for a lamb bhuna. Again, he praised the tenderness of the lamb chunks and the flavoursome sauce that came with it. As my father is also a spice fiend, he said that next time we visit, he would be getting the lamb chilli masala - I can't help but agree. I tried to get a photograph, however I am smart enough to know not to stand in the way of a hungry man's dinner.
|Chicken Tikka Masala - Already tucked into!|
The final dish to be ordered was by Mark, my sister's partner. As he is not a fan of spicy foods, or anything too heavy, he ordered the chicken pasanda. Consisting of a very mild, sweet yet creamy sauce and tikka chicken pieces garnished with sultanas and nuts, the whole dish was very pleasing and satisfying. Mark also dipped a peshwari naan, which really brought out the creaminess of the sauce.
|Chicken Pasanda + Peshwari Naan|
Including six soft drinks to the bill, it came to a total of £74, making it apporixmately £20 per head. The food is absolutely delicious, the setting is serene and overall, the Taj Mahal is hidden gem. Each guest is also offered a complimentary After Eight, which is a nice touch considering most restaurants offer you the cheap powdery mints that do more harm than good!
The only downside of the Taj Mahal? They don't deliver to the ML1 area....
41 Lochnell Street
Wheelchair access? No