TAKEAWAY TEST - Divine Curries, Kilnhurst

THEY like their cricket at Divine Curries and, with England just having won the Ashes, there's plenty to talk about. So much so, the friendly sporting chat is almost like a starter to the main innings of some fine Asian food.

It's a tiny waiting area and counter, a triumph of function over luxury. But you do have a good view of the kitchen and there is much attention and patience paid to food preparation.

I first went to Divine before Christmas, only then it was called Hafi's. There was a new menu, waiting to be superseded by an even newer one, as the place was due for a makeover, fresh management and cheaper prices.

Cutting price is a smart move in the current economic climate, as we all pay the penalty for greedy bankers, who have grown financially fat from a diet of corporate over-indulgence.

I digress as I eat, trying not to fall victim to a plateful of over-indulgence... and now Divine benefits from a large neon sign, so you can hardly miss it while driving past at night.

On first visit I had a dish I've never experienced before, Razalla. It featured an usual partnership of chicken and mince in a deep red sauce.

It was great but isn't on the new menu. Perhaps they should bring it back.

I also tried the Divine Chef Special, off the newest menu. It's a wonderful concoction of lamb, chicken, prawns and mincemeat, again in a deep red sauce, that has just enough heat to make your top lip tingle.

Accompaniments were pilau rice, which was nice and dry, with a peshwari nan, which was fulsome, fluffy and festooned with fruit and nuts.

All this was preceded by the regulatory pickle tray, including the lime one that makes you wince. I've never met anyone who really likes this but we all have to try it. It's a kind of curry law, a spicy rite of passage.

Overall, Divine does the business. I suppose you could say I was bowled over. And I'm sure you could chat about something else if you don't like cricket.

But then again, if you don't like cricket, you deserve a diet of bread and water.


Address: 65 Victoria Street, Kilnhurst.

Tel: 01709 586253

Opening times: 5.30pm to 11pm Tuesday to Thursday, 5.30pm to midnight Friday and Saturday, 5.30pm to 11pm Sunday.

Delivery: Free on orders over 10 within four-mile radius.

Range of menu: Traditional Asian fayre and sundries, plus some English dishes, sandwiches, kebabs, desserts etc. Various meal deals and set meals, free popadoms with orders over 20, free popadoms and bottle of cola on orders over 25.

Atmosphere: Small but clean and tidy, with a good view of the kitchen.

Service: Friendly, with plenty of banter and cricketing talk.

What I had: Pickle tray 1.50, popadom 60p, pilau rice 2, peshwari nan 2.30, Divine chef special 6, chicken razalla 4.90 (not on current menu).

How did it taste: Subtle spices with a little kick.

Verdict: Victory by an innings.

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