A few weekends ago Rich went out for curry at the Clove with some friends here is what he thought.
Bristol has no shortage of curry houses. Or any shortage of good ones, or bad ones, tacky looking ones… we have a whole lot of them, and in many varying levels of quality. From outside appearances The Clove does not look anything special at all, and indeed its website could do with some much-needed updating. Inside though, and exactly where it counts, The Clove ticks all the right boxes. Décor is typical of your expected curry house – dark woods, red carpet, boothed seating – and drinks options are as standard – Kingfisher, Cobra etc. Service though is noticeably that extra bit more than most venues of similar cuisine – friendly, always smiling and very attentive.
The menu and food too offers most of the usual options, but a little bit extra also. The poppadoms for example are good, but the selections of chutneys are excellent. Instead of the normal three or four usual standards, you get five, and they for the most part taste fresh and different to the standard you’d normally expect. The usually polarizing lime pickle for example, not usually on my preferred chutney list, here was more palatable offering a nice clean sharp taste. The mint yoghurt and red coconut combination is always a welcome plus too.
The main course of tandoori mixed grill was a good-looking plate of red-coloured chicken and sheek kebab, which crucially looked great, and happily tasted as delicious as it looked. What really separated it from other similar tandoori dishes that you can get from other Indian restaurants though was the quality of the mint yoghurt and salad. Fresh and freshly made, both tasted crisp and looked perfect. No bland creamy gloop or dry brown leaves here, just clean tasting and a perfect complement to the meal.
Similarly the chicken chilli massala and garlic chilli massala had impressive flavours. Both possessed spicy and hearty warm flavours, but the garlic massala edged it slightly with the garlic adding a nice shade of sweetness to the heat, helping negate any oiliness that these dishes can sometimes be overwhelmed with. The karahi chicken too was just simply delicious. Sadly I wasn’t able to get to enough of it to provide a more detailed opinion, but it would easily make my list of chosen dishes were I to return.The Clove was a welcome surprise. Outward appearances don’t create a good impression, but where it counts – in the food, and the service, and the quality of the dining experience – it does very well indeed. And I would not hesitate in returning. To see what options The Clove has to offer, visit their website.