Grand Trunk Road came highly recommended by local friends, and we’d been looking forward to trying it out. As it was booked up most weekends, we decided to book ahead for a special date – December 30th, the first anniversary of our very first date. Perhaps it was the result of our eager anticipation, but we thought it didn’t quite live up to expectations.
Don’t get me wrong, it was nice enough – a simple small Indian restaurant with a modern setting and a lovely story to tell about the diversity of dishes inspired by the Grand Trunk Road trading route. The staff were lovely, welcoming and attentive without being intrusive. The place was full and there was a buzzy atmosphere, not too noisy though and enough space to enjoy a private conversation (and indulge in some eavesdropping on the entertaining foursome next to us).
Hit The Road Jack
We shared a starter of Punjabi Aloo & Paneer ki Tikki (potato & paneer cakes) along with a shared poppadom basket. This was the highlight of our meal, delightfully presented and so tasty that a few shared starters could easily form a light meal for a return visit. We had a couple of small Cobra beers (presented in lovely globe glasses) with dinner, beer just goes so well with spicy food doesn’t it?
I opted for a veggie main course, I adore Indian vegetable dishes and the baby eggplant Baingan didn’t disappoint. A. loves sea bass and was keen to see an Indian take on the fish, so went for Bengali Fish, the sea bass with kasundi mustard, tomato & curry leaves sauce and crispy spinach. We shared Bhindi Masala (okra), Jeera Aloo (baby potatoes) and Pulao rice. I loved the vegetable selection, although we probably didn’t need the rice (added on the waiter’s advice) along with the potatoes. For A., the fish was overwhelmed by the spices and this was a dish that wasn’t such a success.
Puddings are A.’s passion, and unfortunately dinner didn’t end well with a bland almond rice pudding (Banaras Ki Kheer) that really needed a kick of more fruit or seasoning to lift it. I love ice cream but the saffron and star anise was tiny and over priced at £6.50. Paired dessert wines were a clever and elegant touch and we each had a glass of Noble Wrinkled Riesling – heaven for two newly converted dessert wine enthusiasts. Warm apricot notes and we both felt we should have skipped the actual pudding and just gone with the wine!
At over £100 for two, we think this little restaurant is on the pricey side and at this level there is a lot of competition. However, the food is good on the whole so we would say that this is one to add to the list if you’re in East London.
Grand Trunk Road, 219 High Road, South Woodford, London E18 2PB Saturday, December 30 2017