Well, the menu is certainly busy.
There’s a huge choice at Sheffield’s newest Asian restaurant, the Arooj on Atterclife Road. The tikka, korma, dopiaza and vindaloos English people go to Indian restaurants for jostle for elbow-room with biryanis, home-style karahi cooked on the bone, vegetarian dishes and uber-authentic recipes most Asian families and expect to be served at the weddings they celebrate in their thousands at the Arooj’s massive banqueting hall round the back.
Plus owner Sajid Hussain has added halal Chinese to the mix. He’s nicked the idea from a pioneer of Halal Chinese cuisine, Chaudhry’s TKC in London - and one of its chefs, Khalil Hafiz. It’s the only Indian in town offering chow meins, black bean stir fries, Szechuan specialities, crispy duck dishes and fried rice favourites. For further fusion, there’s Asian-Anglo grilled steaks and chicken.
But, what a shame - the restaurant is nearly empty and it deserves to be as busy as that menu because the food is cracking and reasonably priced. Starters range from £1.80 to £4.50, curry mains from £5.20 to £9. Dinner for four of us comes to £59.80.
To start, it’s fresh poppadoms, a large, succulent, masala-spiced Lahore fish, been marinated for two days, the best prawn puree my friend has ever had (the garlic-laced sauce is tomato-based and it’s more a folded fluffy pancake than a puff), meltingly tender chicken Afghan Boti and my crisp, hollow balls of Gol Gappy with tamarind sauce and chickpeas.
The blokes have Chinese mains - one king prawn, one fish, both with ginger and onion - and declare they’re pretty good, but the outstanding dishes are my chicken, pungent with fresh ginger and bursting with chilli, and my pal’s peshwari ghosht, slow-cooked lamb falling from the bone into a hot sauce zinging with cardamom and sweet with green peppers, plus a nan that was new to us - thick, sesame seed-topped delight.
We ate in one of the towering booths that line one wall of a large dining room stylishly furnished with red and black chairs and chrome-legged tables, its main feature being the open kitchen. Had one of our pals not had a knee replacement, we might have tried one of the little rooms where you eat seated on the floor.
The Arooj would have got a straight flush of fives had the otherwise fabulous staff told us when we booked there was no drinks license and that we could have taken our own, and the atmosphere been enhanced by a full dining room. Now, you can help with that bit. Go treat your tastebuds - and make this restaurant the success it deserves to be.
My star ratings out of five:
WHERE AND WHEN
ADDRESS: 286 Attercliffe Road, Sheffield S4 7WZ
PHONE: 0114 2757786
WEBSITE: Coming soon