Indian dining experience enjoyable

Last updated 12:00 03/05/2012

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REVIEW: Royal Garden Indian Restaurant
61 The Square,
Palmerston North
Phone 354 7898

Open: Lunch 11am-2pm, dinner 5pm until late.
Mains range from $12.50 to $19.
Reviewed by Lisa Durrant.

In the past couple of years I have heard good reviews about the takeaway, Star of India, on Rangitikei St.

I was interested to hear its owners, the Rana family, had taken over the Royal Garden Indian Restaurant located on The Square and reopened it under new management in early April.

After a recent experience there, I am happy to report the restaurant is following in the footsteps of the successful takeaway.

Two of us were looking for a quick, casual meal – a tasty Indian fitted the bill. It was a chilly night so it was great to walk into a warm and welcoming restaurant. Indian artwork adorned the walls, the lighting was subdued and colourful Bollywood-style music videos were playing on a big-screen TV.

Though the Royal Garden is now fully licensed, we opted to stick to water – a chilled bottle is provided to each table. We also received a complimentary small basket of poppadums.

We started with the non-vegetarian platter, which included chicken tikka, sheekh kebab, prawn koliwala and tandoori chicken. It was a nice way to have a taste of a variety of entrees.

The sheekh kebab was tasty and went well with the mint yoghurt accompaniment, while the prawns were still moist inside their crispy coating. It was hard to differentiate between the two chicken options, though both were nicely cooked.

As a main, my friend chose chicken sagwala – cubed chicken with a spicy spinach sauce. Ordered hot, this lived up to its rating, but still retained great flavour. The sauce was nice and creamy with good spinach colour.

My kadai lamb – one of the Royal Garden's specials – hit the nail on the head. Though it was a little hotter than medium usually is, the diced lamb was tender and trimmed of fat well. There was plenty of meat and a pleasant undertone of coriander to the sauce.We shared a bowl of basmati rice – it was more than enough for two. In fact, we were so full we couldn't finish our meals.

The service was efficient and polite, with meals arriving quickly. And it was good to see a spotless restaurant and bathroom facilities.

A bit over an hour later we were ready to go after enjoying a quality Indian meal.

We'll definitely be going back.

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- Manawatu Standard

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