Set within the historic village of Earls Barton which is midway between Northampton and Wellingborough. The Building which dates back to the 17th Century, was originally a house but in recent years was the venue of the acclaimed Rif-Rafs Cauldron and later The Rafters Restaurant. The present Indian Restaurant has now been in existence since November 2005 and has firmly established itself within the village community of Earls Barton. Whilst Earls Barton is called a village it has a population of 5,353 people and has a thriving business community boasting a couple of industrial estates, two Chinese Restaurants, two Indian Restaurants, a sizable supermarket, a fish and chip shop several drinking establishments, a large prestigious car showroom and garage services plus a vast array of retail outlets situated around the Square catering for just about every need. The village itself is self contained and has more amenities than some towns and a recent claim to fame was being the inspiration for the film "Kinky Boots", part of the film was shot in the village itself.
The restaurant has a small entrance unaltered from the original design of the building leading to a small reception area and bar with a welcoming fire set in a large inglenook housing, whilst the proprietors have decorated the interior to a contemporary theme the building retains its original integrity and character. Whilst we waited a few minutes in the reception area to be shown to our table the place was buzzing with people ordering and collecting their take away food. The staff seemed to have a rapport with their customers who were obviously regulars many of whom they were on first names terms with, advised them what would be too spicy or too mild for their tastes and it probably this degree of service which makes the restaurant popular with the population of Earls Barton. After a short wait we were shown to our table which was attractively set with fanned out colour coordinated napkins set out on a neat linen black and white table dressing.
Drinks orders were taken promptly and menus given out with a wine list. In my opinion too many of the dishes feature Tandoori cooked meat and chicken with only a few of the standard dishes featuring meat and chicken without the Tandoori treatment, however the restaurant is quite happy to oblige with ordinary lamb or poultry cooked with your chosen dish. There were four of us in total and having started with popadoms and the usual array of chutneys we then ordered the main meal. Between us we ordered Salmon Ka Jhool, Satoki Shatkora, Lamb Jalfrezi and Naga Mirchiwalla with side dishes of Tarka Dhal, Palak Paneer and Khodu Bhaji plus rice and rotis. Although a busy Saturday night the order arrived in reasonable time giving us a respectable break after finishing the popadoms. All dishes were of a good standard I had ordered the Naga Mirchiwalla which was flavoursome and of a respectable heat without being overpowering, I tried the Satoki Shatkora which was lamb cooked with the revered Bangladeshi fruit the Shatkora similar to our grapefruit (well is rind anyway) which personally was too citrusy for me but was enjoyed by the person who ordered it, the Salmon was superb cooked in a medium gravy with prawns and dill and the Jalfrezi was as expected. Side dishes were of a good standard although the Khodu Bhaji (Indian Pumpkin) I found a little tasteless, perhaps this fairly bland vegetable could have been cooked in a more adventurous way although this is no reflection on the restaurant, it just wasn't to my taste.
Throughout the meal the waiters were attentive without being overbearing and they seemed to appear at just the right moment for a reorder of drinks. The restaurant has a nice friendly relaxed atmosphere and I have returned on a few occasions since this my first visit. Since Little India opened it has taken the majority of the business within the village with the original Indian restaurant in the village left looking a little tired and unloved which I imagine is down to lack of revenue. Little India has become part of a close knit community and I believe it sponsors the village cricket or football team which of course has endeared the establishment to the community and has no doubt increased its popularity with the locals.
In conclusion Little India although a standard High Street restaurant in terms of its menu and cooking style but they intimately know their local market and perhaps a more adventurous menu would work as a deterrent to its local clientele, they have made friends with the community and long may they prosper.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.