Imagine my glee when Mrs Roastpotato texted to tell me she’d managed to secure a reservation for the hottest ticket in town: Morrisons Café in Maldon. We’ve been on the phone every day for weeks trying to get in, but it was always engaged, or when we did finally manage to get through it was fully booked.
It’s one of those swanky places with an obscure entrance: you walk through a supermarket, past busy shoppers, and then you glance out of the corner of your eye a queue of old people smelling faintly of wee. This is how the other half live, you think. You join the exclusive line and make your choices. It’s no ordinary menu-waiter style establishment, but instead you walk past a grand plaque pictorially displaying today’s epicurean delights. There was no hesitation for me, I’d heard wonderful tales of the delicate spicing and exotic ingredients used in their curry by Laissez Fare and BapSHOUT so that was my meal decided. Meanwhile Mrs Roastpotato went for le petit déjeuner d’anglais complet. The maitre’d (I think her name was Sharon) was effortless, taking my order without a word. Literally. Order placed, we took our plastic seats among the busy tables. This was definitely the place to be, it was heaving.
First up was the amuse bouche, a ’round’ of toast (it wasn’t round at all, it was square – so witty!) marinated in butter. This was tasty though a little damp, and flecked with black. I might attempt this one at home myself. While waiting for our mains, I took in our surroundings. I was gazed upon by a kindly old man, reinforcing the genuine and friendly nature of the warm decor.
Not a moment too soon, our plates arrived. The gimmick here is they are more thrown at you – I think it’s an Olympic discus thing ready for 2012 – landing in front of you with a tremendous clatter. Such theatre! Equally fascinating is having to choose the cutlery yourself from a selection of different stainless steel instruments. I think they were trying to catch out the naifs by leaving out all different shaped and sized forks. Luckily I’m experienced in such matters and was able to choose appropriate silverware for my dish.
And there it is, the chicken tikka masala. I could hardly wait. Vibrant and orange, I knew I was in for a treat. I wasn’t disappointed. Thick without being creamy, lightly spiced while simultaneously not tasting of much at all. It takes some skill to achieve that blend of flavours. The meat was stringy and unyielding, equally raised to perfection. Accompanied by skillfully steamed rice (essence of microwave perhaps?) and a naan resembling a pillow (because you will need to sleep after this feast), this was a perfect example of how to reheat a curry in the authentic supermarket way.
Would I go again? Yes.
5,000 stars out of 10