Barry Freeman predicts the best is yet to come for Leyland’s Bangla Spice Brasserie
Location is all in the restaurant game. Location and timing. Location, timing and food. Got to be good food.
It can be revealed today that The Bangla Spice Brasserie has already nailed one of this Holy Trinity – and the other two seem likely to be along in due course.
Situated on the outer edge of Leyland along Wigan Lane, the town’s last outpost before recently rolling fields, today the location at first seems less than promising.
Any restaurant off the eaten track is straight away tasked with giving people a reason to come out of their way, a reason usually to be found on a disc of china in front of happy diners.
Good food. Get that right and they will come.
Happily, the food is good. For price a rival to any Indian restaurant south of the Ribble, and the feeling is that here is a kitchen committed to quality, innovation and further improvement.
Cool lighting and clean modern decor make for a relaxed dining experience, and friendly staff complete an informal mood front of house (while muted traditional Indian music adds just enough reassuring exotic ambience).
Choosing between house specialities and accepted Anglo-Indian perennials, we started with onion bhaji (£3.50) and salmon ka tikka (£4.95), then mains of king prawn balti zafrani (£12.95) and chicken tikka palok (£8.25). Pilau rice (£1.95), tarka dhall (£3.50) and plain nan (£1.95) on the side.
Four pappadums (£3) and chutneys (£2.50 with lime pickle) whet our appetites and the salmon and bhaji arrived right on cue.
The bhaji were great, light, packing light deep crunch and subtly spiced onion savour.
The salmon, a little overdone to my taste, was otherwise a perfect sharing starter.
Two hefty chunks of meaty fish sizzling on a platter beneath a fragrant warm herby onion reduction, somehow managing to be both light and hearty.
Benchmark set for the main courses, after a short interval these emerged to comfortably clear the bar.
The balti zafrani merited its special status, the tangy, lemon, saffron and ginger-infused sauce bubbling over, betwixt and between 10 or so fat pink crustaceans, still juicy in their shells.
The dense spinach-rich tikka palok, played excellent second fiddle, although the speciality’s main rival on the table was the humblest dish in view, an unctuous dhall. Lentils, garlic, a few pinches of herb and spice, a possibly criminal shot of ghee – these few ingredients, cheap and cheerful, almost combined to steal the show.
Ultimately, it was probably only the sneaking suspicion that here was quite possibly the richest dish this side of Elvis Presley’s last supper that prevented me eating more than 75 per cent of it (okay, 95 per cent).
Coming in under £50 with drinks, this is fairly priced fare sure to overcome any hindrance caused by that remote location. And the timing? Remember those rolling fields across the way? A few months hence there’ll be a field of new houses and a hungry horde all aiming to locate their new local Indian restaurant...
Bangla Spice Brasserie Wigan Road, Leyland