We usually steer clear of curry-houses with their bowls of viscous brown sludge containig un- identifiable chunks of, presumably, something edible with pools of ghee glistening on top! Being vegetarian is not an enviable experience with non-meat alternatives being such delicacies as vegetable biryiani or (heaven help us) egg curry!
We had heard good things about the Old Hall and- getting tired of over-priced pretensions to 'fine dining' in the Ludlow area- thought we'd give it a go as we do enjoy proper curry ie dishes which allow the flavour of the main ingredient to blend with subtle flavourings and not setting one's throat aflame.
Wow, a menu with many vegetarian options
Sparkling white tablecloth
No loud music bombarding our ears but just soothing background sounds
Plenty of space
We decided to have the taster banquet- not quite believing the price.... the whole meal being less than fish and chips at one of our more illustrious Ludlow Eateries.... could it be any good? A resounding YES!
We started with three 'dips; and the most delicious pieces of nan-bread we'd had since India... Light/airy and obviously done on an open fire as they were just a bit 'toasty'. Each element was simple but with such delicate and interesting flavours that set the palate dancing. In addition there were wonderful Pakora-like pieces which melted in the mouth and a small, refreshing, salad.
Then the mains. This Chef can do things with pulses that would delight the gods on mount olympus. A sublime potato and broccoli curry and two types of rice; not the congealed stuff that's rammed into a cup andf upended onto your plate but light, fluffy flakes infused with rose and herb water. Although none of the dishes were too 'hot' we were both infused with an inner warmth by the end of the courses.
Now the pudding was one step too far, really. We were both full but keen to try out another Persian delicacy. My heart sank when I saw the choice! As one who was force-fed on Rice pudding, tapioca pudding, semolina pudding and such things, the mere thought of anything like that would normally be enough to send me screaming and shouting for the nearest exit. Having recently been trekking in Nepal, however, I thought I could try anything so I steeled myself to face something with vermicelli!!!! cooked in milk. It did have a few magic words, 'tho, 'honey, rose-water and cinammon'.
Well, the good Doctor/Chef should have this made on prescription for the NHS because, were I to be languishing in bed with a dose of flu and given this puddiing, I would leap out of bed, forthwith and sing 'Oh What A Beautiful Morning'.
Am I going over the top?... no. We both decided this was one of the best meals we've had in this area and absolutely excellent value for money. We'll be back again very soon and will have to face the agonizing choice as to whether to choose the set banquet or individual items, thereby not being able to savour the whole menu. I think I'll go for the banquet again.
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