LET’S get this straight from the off – it wasn’t the prawns’ fault.
Far from it. What there were of them... wonderfully tasty.
But it has to be said, when the lid was removed from the foil container what appeared inside was breath-taking, for the wrong reason: a tiny huddle of tandoori king prawns was reflected by a shiny ocean of unblemished aluminium acting like a fairground mirror.
Okay, so it was just a starter, but at £3.40 you expect at least something to successfully get your meal under way rather than drawing disbelief and derision.
For less money, the mixed kebab starter of onion bhaji, moist chicken tikka, juicy ‘sheek’ kebab and salad did a far better job.
And thankfully the good vibes of that continued into the main courses.
Panahar restaurant describes itself as serving contemporary Indian cuisine – and it’s also a pizzeria.
Apparently it does the latter well but we were here to explore a takeaway menu (one dropped through our letterbox a few days earlier) that holds a few unfamiliar options.
Among them special Chatgaw fish, a creature from the Bay of Bengal cooked with Bangladeshi spices.
With a texture that held its own, the white meat also conspired with rather than competed against the distinctive flavouring and gave a pleasurable texture amid a wealthy but sympathetic sauce.
The delicious goo that bathed the chicken Bengal pal was a little more stealthy.
Fried meat had been mixed with onions, green peppers, nuts and sultanas and fairly hot spices to give a sweet and sour edge to the heat, the lemon and coriander garnish adding interest to the finish.
A fluffy boiled rice to soak up the sauces and a generous garlic naan bread for mopping up any residue in the foil boxes completed the order.
Unlike some takeaways these Panahar portions weren’t big enough for a naughty next day leftovers lunch, but with Christmas upon us maybe that was a good thing.
Then again, with the cooking time longer than forecast on a very busy Saturday night – giving plenty of time for a pint at the nearby Rising Sun – maybe we were hungrier than usual.
All in all, an enjoyable feed, even with the initial scandal of Prawngate.
Venue: Panahar, Fulwood Road, Sheffield S10 3QD. Tel: 0114 2630106 Opening times: Seven days, 5.30pm-11pm. Parking: On street. Atmosphere: Bustling and modern, vibrant. Service: Polite, slow under in-house pressure. Range of menu: Extensive with some less obvious options. What we had: Tandoori mixed prawn, £3.40, Mixed kebab, £2.95, Chicken Bengal pal, £6.25, Special Chatgaw fish, £8.25, Garlic naan, £1.80, Boiled rice, £1.40. Waiting time: 30 mins (Saturday night) How did it taste? Tasty, busy, moreish. Verdict: Maybe avoid prawn starters.