Nobanno Lakeside Indian Restaurant
Nobanno Lakeside Indian RestaurantAstbury Lake, A34 Newcastle Road
Tel: 01260 299771
Nobanno has been here for a couple of years now and is located on the edge of the picturesque Astbury Lake, just outside of the town of Congleton in Cheshire. It occupies the site of a former restaurant The Bay of Bengal
We have eaten at Nobanno on many occasions over the last couple of years and Iíve condensed my experiences into this one review.
Firstly, it is well worth a mention that this year, Nobanno were regional winners of the Tiffin Cup, a competition now in its 7th or 8th year. Restaurants are nominated regionally by Members of Parliament and regional winners go onto a grand final, a cook off judged by a panel of special guests, including celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott, held at the House of Commons. Sadly, Nobanno did not win the final but it was a fantastic achievement to be nominated and win through to the final event.
The location of the restaurant is rather odd, however it adds immensely to the overall ambience and experience of eating there. It is situated in an externally unassuming building, on an elevated position above Astbury Lake. On a summers day or evening the views over the lake are delightful and a small patio at the front of the restaurant allows diners to eat or drink outside, overlooking the lake, enjoying a combination of the food, weather and views. The restaurant also has windows overlooking the lake allowing diners inside to view the lake and its wildlife and watersports.
The restaurant is family owned and run, the owner himself is the chef and his family work with him in the kitchen and waiting at tables. The menu is interesting and whilst it contains many of the favourite Indian Menu options we have come to expect, it also contains interesting dishes that are not at all. Both starters and main courses have excellent fish options, including bass, prawn, mussels, trout, salmon and Asian fish, roofchanda. There are also venison and whole chicken dishes available, but I believe these may require pre-ordering due to the preparation time involved.
Service is good, but be prepared to wait if they are busy as they do prepare all meals freshly to order. But it is worth the wait.
Starters are plentiful portions and there is a wide and appetising selection. I have had the more traditional options of onion bhaji, king prawn on puri and sheek kebabs. I have also had the mixed starter, which contains chicken tikka, chicken barbecued kebab, king prawn in pastry and potato cake with chutney. Especially good is the Chetol, which is minced fish in spices. The starters are all beautifully presented with an excellent side salad and unusually some baby sweetcorn and asparagus. Each one has been a feast in itself and a mouthwatering insight into the main courses to follow.
Main courses are equally as delicious and the Lamb Bihari (Lamb cooked in Shahi Gira, a Kashmiri sauce, with onion, garlic, ginger and green chilli) is particularly worthy of a mention. The meat content is top quality and plentiful and the sauce is spicy and delicious, mopped up with one of the superb rice accompaniments and a fresh nan bread.
A more unusual dish is Lamb Kerela. Kerela is a green vegetable popular in Bangladesh. It is rather bitter to taste, so be warned, it may be an acquired taste, but I enjoyed it immensely as an alternative to spinach which is much more Ďrun of the millí.
Korai with Channa (medium hot spices flavoured with peppers and served in a korai pot, where the channa, or chickpeas, are optional). I go for the version with the chickpeas as they are a wonderful curry combination. Like all the meat dishes, the quality and quantity are first rate.
Other dishes I have had include the Jalfrezi (fiery hot!) and the Dhansak (mild with a thin lentil sauce and very sweet).
Main course options I havenít tried, but sound delicious are Chicken Rezela, whole baby chicken cooked in the clay oven or Venison Shaan. I believe the latter requires advance notice.
The accompaniments are also delicious and freshly prepared. I particularly like the vegetable rice and the fruity pilau rice. Good, hot fresh portions. The Nan breads are also a good size, hot, fluffy and freshly made.
I choose a cold refreshing Cobra beer to wash the food down with, but there is also a good and excellent value wine and Champagne list available. In fact I have had the house Champagne (Buckingham Palace brand) on a birthday party visit there. If you contact the restaurant in advance and tell them itís a birthday celebration, they put on the helium balloon and free bottle of Champagne treatment (and a free cake for desert).
I feel somewhat fortunate to have Nobanno as a fairly local restaurant. I have no reservations in saying that it is head and shoulders better than any other Indian or Bangladeshi restaurant in the immediate or wider area. It sits right up there with the best and its performance in the Tiffin cup 2012 is ample evidence that it is a restaurant of national quality.
I wholeheatedly recommend Nobanno and I keep going back myself as it represents exceptional quality and value. There is ample free car parking, great views, nicely appointed interior, good access for the less able bodied and in the summer, the opportunity to eat or drink outside. They also do a Thali special on Sunday and Monday evenings.