This month, Spring had well and truly sprung so what better to do than go out on a restaurant crawl? I was feeling in the mood to visit the home town of Liverpool and revisit an old favourite- this was proving easier said than done as most of my faves have gone bust thanks to pesky N*ndo's and co! I checked out Zorbas but after hearing not so favourable reviews lately, not to mention a huge price hike (capitalising on being one of the few decent Greeks in Lpool?), my mind turned to my pleasure, my pain, my passion- CURRY. The mothership aka the UnI in Renshaw St was calling me, but it didn't open til 6 and it was 5 and I wanted curry immediately, same went for Indian Delight. So the default diversion was Master Chef, which fitted in great with my eating buddies thanks to its fab BYO policy! Being the teetotal I am, I was happy as they are one of the few restaurants that do fruity Rubicon as an alternative to Coke and Sprite, along with a wide range of lassis. Master Chef has been in Liverpool for over 20 years and never fails to come up with tasty, exotic food, good prices and fantastic portion size. Great for nights out, quiet lunches, parties and solo diners, Master Chef is more versatile than run-of-the-mill curry houses. Recently refurbed without losing its character, the restaurant is a modern twist on the stereotypical curry house- twangy music, a sticky carpet and pictures of mosques and palaces are all present and correct, but the furnishings and layout of the place could be from a generic wine bar.
I ended up visiting twice in a week, so let me run you through both meals at once. Service and atmosphere was chilled and efficient, with a smile and helpful tips on what the meals included spice-wise. My only complaint was that the heating was on full whack- not the best thing when the temp outside is nearly 20 and you're shovelling hot food down your throat.
To start, I had samosa the first time which was packed with chunky fresh veg with a kicking aftertaste, costing under £2. Credit crunch tastic! The second time, I went along the road less travelled and tried an aubergine pakora and potato bhaji, also under £2 and they were fabulous. The aubergine melted in the mouth and was set off nicely with a wedge of lemon and the old chutney tray, the potato bhaji making a change from old faithful onion. The potato bhaji looked like a fishcake with golden breadcrumbs but was thankfully packed to the gills with spud, like the best chip butty you have ever had.
For mains, I went for veg achaari (medium curry with a pickle base, perfect for fans of chutney and piquancy) and madras. Both curries were of high quality and packed full of nutritious greens and potatoes, the madras firing up my tastebuds while the achaari enriched the senses. Achaari has a rich hot and sour taste, a rich alternative to Vindaloo without being ridiculously spicy. CURRY HEAVEN. Both meals were accompanied with a massive naan and lashings of basmati.
The dessert menu was standing on the table, tempting me into the perfect conclusion of a good meal out. I chose a Matka Kulfi, a pistachio icecream presented in a pretty pot which they let me take home.
Readers, in times of rip-off merchants and credit crunches, I recommend you get down to Master Chef. At £36 for 3 people (2 meat, 1 veggie, 2 courses, 1 dessert and soft drinks), this is a bargain. And with good customer service at that.