Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Birthday in Soz (part 2)

Right, where did I get to before I was so rudely interrupted by the positively indecent demands of my employer that I turn up to work within a margin of when I'm expected?

Ah yes - we'd just viewed the Southampton Solent University BA Illustration final year's exhibition. And jolly interesting it was too.

I genuinely liked a lot a what I saw; there are plenty of very talented young people about to try and launch themselves into the competitive world of commercial art. Perhaps my particular favourite (family considerations to one side) was a collection of works by Rebecca Pennell. This (not particularly good) photo is of a piece called "Acidic Wine and Crimson Lipstick" which caught my eye.
So, gallery viewing completed, a quick change back at the Wizzers of Soz's remarkably salubrious student digs (I was mildly disappointed not to get the Young Ones experience), and it was time for the birthday meal en-famille.

Earlier in the week, I'd searched the interweb and booked a table at the Coriander Lounge in Southampton's High Street. It looked good and not expensive, so it had to be worth a try.

I think you can tell you might to be on to a good thing when you tell the taxi driver your destination - "Coriander Lounge, please" - and he responds with "Good choice".

I'm not going to go on and on or try to be a restaurant reviewer or an A.A.Gill style critic. But I will say that the food was the best Indian I have ever had and the meal rates amongst the best I've experienced of any cuisine (and I've been enjoying dining out for something like 30 years). It really was that good. Add to that the highest, friendliest service levels and relatively inexpensive prices and it's seriously no wonder that you need to book early to get a table.

I am well aware that many readers will be yawning at this point, so you'll just have to skip past this set of food photos.

My starter (no one else had one, they were content with the poppadoms and condiments): Lamb Piccata - slices of lamb marinated in yoghurt, ginger and garlic and baked in a tandoor. Mmmmmmm....served sizzling from a griddle at the table.
Mains were no less delicious. The "chef's special" Tamarind Chicken:
Dozybean enjoyed a vegetarian thali and Mrs The Millbrooker tucked into her Coriander Monkfish (cooked with cashew nuts, coconut milk, mustard and coriander in a mild sauce).
I fear I can't remember which version of chicken the Wizzers of Soz chose, but she was equally delighted with her meal.
Almost every time I've ordered a pudding in an Indian restaurant I've been disappointed. You'll have guessed that this was the exception. It might look like fried testicles in wee-wee (or is that just me?), but it's called Gulab Jamun and it's bloomin' lovely.
Indian cuisine brought to a whole new level - truly exceptional; I'd travel to Southampton for no other reason than to eat at the Coriander Lounge again. In fact, I probably will.
You know what - they gave me a bottle of bubbly (not bad stuff, either) as a leaving present when they found out it was my birthday.
We had a very decent bottle of plonk, a carafe of sweetish white wine (for Wizzers who is a wine heathen), two large bottles of Kingfisher beer and more than enough to eat for four people over three courses - the bill was less than £26 each. Utterly fantastic.

My thanks are due - to the Wizzers of Soz for generously sponsoring the meal, to Mrs The Millbrooker for generously sponsoring the drinks, to Dozybean for generously adding a splash of colour and to the Coriander Lounge people for doing what they do so well.


Judith said...

Sorry I'm late, but no less sincere - Happy Birthday!

The food sounds fabulous.

The Millbrooker said...

Thank you, my Kiwi friend. The food was, indeed, fabulous. Almost worth the flight from the antipodes, I would say.