[apologies, as usual, for the dreadful photos]
For your average foodie type there are worse places to live than Newington Green. Minutes from my door I have the amazing fruit & veg shop, two Italian delis (this one good for ingredients, this one for pizza), numerous independent caffs for a lazy brekkie and decent coffee, Turkish grocers with their pulses, olives, spices, oils and baklava, and a very attractive, errr, roundabout on which to picnic should you feel the need. Nearby, the smokey delights of Green Lanes, a visceral trip down Ridley Road, or a gastronic splurge in Clerkenwell, all within an iskender's throw of the green. Decent curry, however, is elusive.
There's Rasa up on Church Street, serving what has to be some of the best veggie grub in the city, but other than that the Indian food around here is a bit drab and unreliable (though I'd be delighted if proven wrong). And sometimes a gal just gotta have some meat with her spice.
Delhi Grill are bringing a taste of Bombay to the delicate folk of Islington with a neat selection of Indian dishes. Taking more than a leaf from the bible (Qu'ran?) of Tayyabs, they have a limited menu emphasising flavour and freshness, rather than a reading list of potential disaster. Just a few staple curries and a selection of tandoori stuffs, they're keeping it simple which is no bad thing.
Lovely Hannah of Nourish PR was, well, lovely enough to organise a sneaky roti delivery in return for my thoughts;
The rotis were good with the right amount of chew, and made a handy vessel for the generous contents within. The three fillings - lamb sausage, paneer, and chicken tikka - were well charred with a satisfying whiff of smoke, teamed with fresh salads and various sauces.
The lamb sausage was well spiced (not quite a Bangra but pretty good) though could have done with a teensy touch more salt: a tasty snagg nonetheless. The chicken tikka nicely offset with a dab of raita, enough to make a difference but not so much as to destroy the bread, and the paneer - marinated and grilled - came with soft, smoky, sweet peppers and a welcome spicy kick.
Perfect lunch or lazy-evening fodder, without the usual bank of fat/calories associated with takeaway grub. A delicious introduction to a great local place; I cannie wait to try a full on Bombay blow out*.
21 Chapel Market
020 7278 8882
*which, incidentally, would cost you next to nothing, have you seen their prices?