I’d been to Royal Tandoori once before this visit, and my one memory of the restaurant was my friend’s drunk sister hilariously terrifying every other diner there.
While that didn’t seem to speak volumes for the food, enough time had passed for me to give it another shot with a less rowdy crowd.
The restaurant itself was how I remembered it. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the look of the place, but it’s burdened by the blandness that afflicts almost every modern curry house.
It’s a personal preference, but I would much rather dine among the garish gold trappings of an old fashioned Brick Lane-style restaurant than these faux-leather furnished clones that are popping up all over the country.
But while design and decor are subjective, the quality of food here isn’t up for debate.
I’ve eaten a lot of curry in Scarborough. There are some cracking restaurants, and to put it mildly, there are some duds.
And having been once before, I admit I wasn’t expecting fireworks at the Royal Tandoori, but it really was nothing short of a first-class meal.
Our party of four all opted for the midweek banquet option, which at less than £11 per head for the works, is possibly the best value meal in the borough.
We opted for a range of starters. The staples of every curry house were there, such as the onion bhaji and a chaat.
But it was great to see so many different dishes on there, options I’ve never once encountered on a curry house menu.
I opted for the chicken momo, which the only way I can describe it was being like a meat Mcmuffin.
Stacked slabs of succulent chicken, cooked to near perfection. I’d never seen it before but I would get it time and time again, it was that good.
One of my friends bravely plumped for, in my opinion, the least appealing sounding starter on the menu.
The murgh kofta was essentially shredded chicken and mashed potato fried and breadcrumbed.
It looked unspectacular, sounded unspectacular, but was a total revelation.
Oozing with flavour, his bravery in straying away from the tried and tested options was rewarded no end.
Our scouse waiter, an undoubted rarity in any curry house, attentively served our main courses as he kept our drinks flowing.
When the mains arrived, they really drove home the incredible value the set meal offers. Big, big portions, alongside fluffy rice and individual naan’s.
I opted for the mild and creamy chicken tikka makhani, a rich dish that was loaded with lashings of coconut and almonds.
But my companions rolmol ghost stole the show. A spectacular dish, it resembled a stew more than a traditional curry.
The lamb was incredible, even irresistible in the dark, paste-based sauce.
I think we all wished that we’d ordered it.
On the whole, I don’t know if something has changed in the past year or two at the Royal Tandoori, but in my estimation, it’s gone from a curry house I could barely remember to one I can see myself visiting time and time again, and certainly one of Scarborough’s best.Ratings out of 10: Food 8; menu choice 8; service 8; decor 6; ambience 7; overall 8.