Sylhet Restaurant, Langho near Clitheroe, Lancashire restaurant review
PUBLISHED: 19:46 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:03 20 February 2013
Sylhet Restaurant, Whalley Road, Langho near Clitheroe BB6 8DD. 01254 247998
Sylhet Restaurant, Whalley Road, Langho near Clitheroe BB6 8DD.
Two thirds of 'Indian' restaurants in Britain are actually Bangladeshi, so it's refreshing that Sylhet in Langho is patriotically upfront about its origins.
Opened a year ago in what used to be Nico's Ristorante Italiano, it seems to be doing well, despite an early to-do with the neighbours over a 15ft tall illuminated orange palm tree.
There were no neon trees in the car park when we arrived, and inside the large, single-storey building (but with steps to the door) it was all very tasteful, with wooden floors, lights set into a false ceiling and black leather upholstery. With a second dining room off the bright, attractive bar, Sylhet can comfortably cater for 160, and up to 200 if necessary.
The menu offers more than a dozen regional dishes I'd never heard of, alongside the usual list of madras, dansak, vindaloo, Uncle Tom korma and all.
At the moment the restaurant is hedging its bets, offering a smart environment and regional cuisine, but ticking all the standard curry house boxes, from chicken tikka masala to bought-in frozen desserts. Surely there is a market for Indian restaurants offering something a little different? That's what Shahid Ali is hoping. He runs Sylhet and the well established Blue Diamond restaurant in Whalley New Road, Blackburn, and has plans to send his chefs to Bangladesh to learn some new, authentic dishes for a changing specials blackboard.
Sylhet is an area of Bangladesh with beautiful winding rivers, according to the menu, which could explain all the fish and duck among their 'signature dishes'. For starters I had mass biran (7.50), meaty monkfish fried in the traditional Bangladeshi style, which seems to be the same sort of style as everywhere else, crisp on the outside with very little spice. Carol and Anthony had onion bhajis (2.95) and vegetable samosas (3.25), a good way of calibrating a restaurant. Both starters had plainly been made fresh, but also lacked spice (and not just chilli). C&A are both vegetarians (in fact they had to be up early the next morning to receive a shipment of organic gherkins for their wholefood co-op), so went for the vegetable bhuna (6.95) and vegetable biryani (7.95) and seemed content, thanks to the freshness of the ingredients and the mix of spices.
But if God meant us to be vegetarians, why are animals made out of meat? So I had another signature dish, aashiqui tukra(9.95), chicken strips in onion and pepper with a dash of wine. The chicken was firm and full of flavour, and the spices just got better and better the more I ate.
One day I will try the Daffy Duck themed sundae, but this time, all comfortably full, we shared a pecan kulfi, creamy Indian ice cream.
Service was prompt and a little too attentive, with three different waiters asking if we were enjoying our meal. The bill for three of us, including pre-dinner drinks and beers, came to 75.10, good value for food and surroundings a cut above the average curry house. Will Sylhet go for the sophisticated market of nearby Northcote Manor, or play safe with the familiar Indian restaurant recipe? Watch this space.