Fresh, intense and aromatic dishes from India’s southern regions are the trademark of a recently opened restaurant in Hillsborough.
Two States aims to combine the distinctive flavours of foods from Hyderabad and Kerala, in a very relaxed environment that feels just as it would if it were sited in that part of India’.
It is Shuaib Mammu’s first restaurant venture with Ramesh Ravilla, but, he explained, his father runs a successful restaurant on a similar theme in Dubai.
Head chef Manoharen Eliyan has spent time plying his trade in Dubai too, employed at the Indian embassy.
It was a quiet Saturday evening, with just one couple dining, when we dropped by.
The menu aroused both interest and hunger, but we were disappointed to be told there were no pappadams that night.
It could, however, be seen as a blessing as we settled for the chicken manchurian and ginger prawns instead, and were instantly cheered by first the presentation, and then the taste.
The onion, green chillies and garlic on buttered chicken in soya sauce blended beautifully, giving a spicy tang to the perfectly cooked chicken.
And the piquant ginger prawns were a delight, bursting with flavour on the tongue.
We were eager to sample the mains, and enjoyed a glass of wine while anticipating a vegetarian choice of Keralan brinjal curry, with aubergine in dry roasted coconut masala, and the Nawabi murgh makhani in a ‘rich silky tomato gravy finished with a drizzle of cream’.
They didn’t disappoint the tastebuds. The aubergine dish was subtly aromatic and delicious, although could have been hotter, and combined well with a melt-in-the-mouth parotta - the best crisp yet fluffy Indian bread I’ve had.
The chicken makhani again hit the spot with luscious sauce and tender meat. It did, however, contain a few bones which was a shame.
Waitress Shweta Chouhdray was helpful and attentive, and the restaurant room was comfortable and unfussy. Staff do not wear uniform as part of their bid to create an ‘authentic Indian’ atmosphere, so this place is not for those who want to dress up and go upmarket.
It’s all about the food. Post-it notes from satisfied diners were stuck on a central pillar. Some remarked that it really did make them feel that they had ‘stepped in to a bit of India.’
We paid £38.77 for two-course meals with parotta and two glasses of Merlot.
Star ratings out of five:
Three more to choose from:
Cutlers Spice, Leighton Road, Gleadless , S14 1SP
Ashoka Indian restaurant, Ecclesall Road S11 8NX
Maveli, Glossop Road, S10 2GW