In which Lucy and The Chap head to Dhaba 15 on Magdalen Street in Norwich for Indian street food.
Now, I’m going to be honest: I fell out of love with Indian food a few years ago. Having been unwell on a recent trip to Rajasthan, I couldn’t face it.
However, I’d heard good things about a new Indian restaurant in Norwich and my interest was piqued. Dhaba 15 on Magdalen Street was serving up Indian street food, and I was keen to try it out.
Located in what was The Nazma, it’s had a bit of a face lift. With new upholstery and lighting, it’s more modern and intimate than its previous incarnation.
Before I get too far into the review, I have a word of warning: Dhaba 15 doesn’t serve alcohol. It doesn’t bother me, but I know lots of people like a beer with their curry. Be prepared to wait until after!
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Dhaba 15 menu
Upon arrival, one of the co-owners came to talk us through the concept and his love of authentic Indian cuisine.
There’s a mix of both street food and fusion food on the Dhaba 15 menu, which makes for some exciting dishes. With Vietnamese, Chinese and even British influences, there’s a lot to choose from. Plus there are the usual Anglo-Indian favourites, such as jalfrezi and tikka masala.
The waiting staff will explain the menu if there’s anything you’re unsure of or are unfamiliar with. Oh, and if you’re vegetarian or vegan, there are options for you too!
The main course
Of course, we started with poppadums, because it’s the law, right? At Dhaba 15, they came with the usual accompaniments of mint raitha, mango chutney and pickles and took the edge off my hunger.
I had vegetable thoran paneer for my main. Although I’m not vegetarian, I love paneer cheese in a curry. And the curry was amazing. Beautifully presented in a black bowl, the sauce was rich and coconut-based, lightly spiced with zing of coriander. It’s perfect if you like a mild curry like korma.
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The Chap is a carnivore through and through, so picked the North India lamb fry. And I admit I had a pang of food envy. The lamb was slow-cooked to perfection, so it melted in the mouth. The sauce was rich and thick, with incredibly complex flavours from the caramelised onions, ginger and spices.
To accompany the dishes, we shared a garlic naan and jeera aloo (potatoes cooked with cumin seeds). The naan was light and perfect for mopping up sauce, while the potatoes were soft, smushed and delicately spiced, just the way I like them.
Throughout the meal, the waiters were attentive but not overbearing. They checked how we were but weren’t in our faces.
Dessert at Dhaba 15
While I was convinced I couldn’t eat more food, I could fit in a drink. So, for pudding, I picked the rose lassi.
It’s an acquired taste for British palates. As a fermented yoghurt drink, it’s very rich, with a sour tang. The rose-water flavour added a floral note, which was very pleasing. It’s supposed to aid digest and be a source of probiotics, so I basically convinced myself it was a health food.
The Chap had gulab jaman. These little dough balls are soaked in a light rose syrup, served hot, with ice-cream. They were too sweet for me, but The Chap (and his sweet tooth) loved the rich, dense sweetness after the main dishes.
Although it was slightly expensive (more than £40 for two courses each), we were both impressed. I’m keen to try the Persian beef curry and massala fries, so I’ll report back when I do!
Dhaba 15 review8
Menu is varied
Slightly expensive compared to other Indian restaurants