GENUINE customer service is sadly not a regular feature on many restaurant menus these days.
But it is in plentiful supply at the Indian Chef in Dinnington as my folks and I found on a visit one wintry night this month.
It may have been freezing outside but the welcome was more than welcome from owner Azad and his staff at the newly-refurbished restaurant on Laughton Road.
Azad clearly prides himself on being the ‘host with the most’ and his enthusiasm for his restaurant, food and customers shines through.
We were the only diners in that night and so had run of the place as he explained the menu to us as we tucked into our crispy poppadoms and delicious dips.
The menu is full of enticing-sounding dishes, featuring traditional favourites to house specialities such as the Nuwabi Gosht lamb with fresh green chillies and coriander or Chicken Aachar cooked with pickles.
There are also some unusual dishes in the Tandoori and Massala section such as the Chicken Tikka Sandwich wrapped in a plain or garlic naan.
I decided to go for the Vegetable Dopiaza, prepared with spiced onions, green peppers and tomato, while my mum ordered a Vegetable Methi - cooked with fenugreek leaves.
My dad asked if he could have his favourite chickpea and potato curry prepared balti style, which was of course no problem for Azad and his chefs.
As we waited for our food to arrive, we were brought a complimentary Aloo Tikki starter - a tasty blend of mashed potato patties with spring onions and coriander - all served with Azad’s signature dips.
It set the tone perfectly for our food which arrived sizzling hot to our table, accompanied by colourful dishes of pilau rice and fluffy naan breads.
Our curries were packed with fresh and authentic Indian vegetables - none of those limp frozen excuses you so often get in curry houses.
And the naan bread was a revelation - evidently freshly-made and perfect for scooping up the lush curry sauce off our plates.
Azad was with us every step of the way - explaining his long history in the restaurant trade and his passion for delivering the best customer service.
He told us about how he trusted one diner to return to pay the next day - the Indian Chef takes cash only.
The man was so surprised by this after such great food he made sure he returned that night to settle up.
I reckon that level of customer care is the perfect garnish to Indian Chef’s delicious food and definitely worth a look.
by Chantal Spittles