So far, my South Yorkshire curry adventures have been a bit oily and distinctly average. In a part of the country that is saturated with chippies and pub grub, I found myself here again desperately seeking spice. Wanting to give Sahib another chance after a heartburn-enhanced incident a few years ago, I discovered it had now become a Kebabish- bad move. Kebabish is synonymous with bad service for me, after being greeted with hostility in both their Manchester and Edinburgh branches. Spice Lounge wasn't going to be given a second chance either as my local mole tells me that despite its glowing reviews on TripAdvisor, seasoned curryholics have reported several Imodium Moments after consuming their greasy bhunas.
After circumnavigating the region on a discovery of spice, I finally found a street known simply as Wicker which seemed to be the nearest thing Sheffield has to Manchester's Curry Mile. Bright lights, a smell of spice in the air and rotating kebabs- hopefully I'd be on to a winner here. Enter Gulshan, the curry house whose USP is simply affordable curries.
Gulshan is not posh, nor kebab-shop style plastic tables, but a small yet modern curry house suitable for sole diners, stags or couples, depending what time of night you go. Its blue lighting gave it a great moody feel not too stark on the eyes, plus you could peek in the kitchen. It's a BYO with no corkage charge, plus they do soft drinks at only £1.50, not to mention mango lassi. The service was friendly without being intrusive and overbearing- a pet hate of mine when I'm in an empty restaurant and the staff are earwigging on my conversation!
Due to the absence of Vindaloo and Madras on the menu, I ordered this chili-hot Veggie Rezala:
At only £4.80 , it was a bargain, probably the cheapest restaurant curry I've had in the UK for years. Packed to the gills with potatoes, chickpeas and the vital ingredient chillies, this was a more than sufficient substitute for vindaloo. The Carnivore, set in his ways, ordered Chicken Dhansak, also £4.80 which was met with much 'mmmms' and 'yums'. We ate our curries with brown pilau and peshwari naan, £2 and £2.20 respectively. The peshwari was infused with sesame seeds, a take on Pesh I'd never seen before but was ever so moreish.
My only two minus points about Gulshan were the absence of Kulfi on the dessert menu (a staple requirement for me!) and the toilet facilities. There is only one toilet and it's a bit cramped and smelly, plus it's a bit of a Krypton Factor challenge to get to. It's bang next to the bar and kitchen but the hand-dryer and an additional sink are outside the toilet cubicle right by where the staff are passing by. However, our bill only came to around £16 for the two of us, so I shan't be complaining too much!