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 Balti King, Wellingborough
 Tuesday, 2 May 2000
  restaurant factfile

We'd never been to Wellingborough for a curry before so when the opportunity arose, and having absolutely no idea where to go, we plumped for the namesake of one of our Northampton favourites, Balti King. The restaurant has an odd layout with an oversized waiting/bar area occupying almost half the available space. Perhaps they have large crowds collecting takeaways! When the lights were eventually turned on, the décor was revealed as decidedly plain with none of the usual artificial foliage, just orange painted walls with a few framed prints. There were about fifty seats in all and with half of them taken the place managed to look busy, particularly for a Tuesday evening. This was probably due to the vast selection of very reasonably priced dishes on the menu. Even so, there seemed to be only one waiter on hand.

Whilst perusing the menu we had a couple of popadoms. These were accompanied by a dazzling array of pickles and chutneys. For starters we decided to be different and ordered shammi kebabs and onion bhajees. The bhajees were very thin and flat and rather crispy around the circumference. They must have been from separate batches as PhilS found his rather bland - even the splatter struggled to enhance the flavour whilst IanD and SteveB both found theirs to be very tasty. The shammi kebabs were very well cooked - just on the right side of burnt. They were very spicy and well compacted which made them appear tough at times.

With very little delay, the main courses arrived. The balti chicken and vegetable jalfrezi was a very generous portion with a good variety of vegetables and not too much chilli. The chicken pieces were a bit on the huge side which meant they had not absorbed much flavour in the centre. The balti chicken bhuna consisted of very tender pieces of chicken in a slightly mushy sauce. The balti chicken pathia had succulent pieces of chicken in a spicy sauce which had a bit of a kick to it. Both the pathia and bhuna portions were a bit on the small side, looking lost in the huge balti dishes. All the balti pans were extremely hot and revolved freely on their bases. As 2 only had one handle some skill was required to remove their contents! All the nans had a good texture but the standard of filling varied. The chilli nan was best with a generous sprinkling of chillies. The kulcha nan had a sparse filling. A cheese nan was delivered in place of the peshwari we'd ordered. When the peshwari nan finally arrived, it was overstuffed and still a bit greasy. We were given a free mixed vegetable side dish which was quite pleasant.

We decided against desserts and when the bill arrived, along with the traditional chocolates we each received a complimentary glass of Bailey's.

We liked this Balti King. The staff were friendly and efficient despite being quite rushed. The prices were reasonable and there was enough variety on the menu to try a different dish on every future visit! We were very pleased to see that the baltis were offered without compulsory nans. We'll definitely be coming back.

The Scores


Which gives an overall rating of 4 bhajis.

Balti Chicken and Vegetable Jalfrezi3.5IanD
Balti Chicken Pathia4PhilS
Chicken Hasina1.5SharonO
Balti Chicken Bhuna4SteveB

The takeaway
The spicy popadom was still crispy and very tasty but the plain ones had become very soggy. The onion bhaji was not particularly flavourful even after it had been expertly reheated. The chicken hasina was very salty and quite greasy. It was like chicken tikka with onion, tomato and green peppers and didn't seem to have been roasted in the tandoor on a skewer as suggested when it was ordered. The peshwari nan was pretty decent - not being overstuffed but the saltiness of the hasina made it difficult to enjoy. SharonO would prefer not to have a takeaway from this place again!