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Khari Restaurant (Camberley)

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Address: The Atrium / Camberley / Surrey / GU15 3GP

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      27.10.2012 19:58
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      An excellent new Indian restaurant in Camberley town centre

      If there's one thing you can say about Camberley it's that it's not short of "Indian" restaurants. I say Indian in quotes because, as we all know, Indian is used as a generic term: by far the majority of Indian restaurants are Bangladeshi owned. However, whether truly Indian or just Indian in style, another Indian restaurant in Camberley would seem to be a hard sell.

      Despite this, it is also a fact that there are very few Indian restaurants in the town centre: most are in the Camberley districts or on the London Road (A30). So, for residents in town for a night out, either at the nightclubs or the cinema, the convenience of a nearby Indian restaurant would be a boon.

      However, to choose to locate it in the newly-built Atrium might seem a little strange: the Atrium might already be termed a "Food Court", with only a bowling alley and the Vue cinema breaking into the monopoly of restaurants, which include Frankie & Benny's, Nando's, Wagamama, Prezzo, Bella Italia, Chiquitos and a Bar Estilo. And that's just on the ground floor, inside; just outside there's also a Zizzi and a Pizza Express. On the first floor there's a Real China.

      The unit next to Real China, where Khari now exists, has been occupied by a couple of businesses since the Atrium opened, both of which have failed so Khari already had a challenge to meet. In it's favour, though, is that it is on this second level that you find the entrance to the Vue cinema so custom from those going to see a film and wanting to eat before or after should be anticipated; that seems to be where Real China enjoys a lot of its success.

      In our house Friday night is curry night. I had ventured into town during the week and noticed that the long anticipated opening of Khari had actually happened. I had picked up one of their takeaway menus to see what was on offer. The choice looked different from your run-of-the-mill Indian so, on this particular Friday we decided that instead of having our curry in front of the TV we'd go and try out Khari to see what it actually had to offer.

      Our first visit was just weeks after the opening and I was interested to see what sort of popularity they had managed to achieve in such a relatively short time; a not inconsiderable one it seemed. Whilst the place was only half-full when we arrived at 7.30pm, before the evening was out, all the tables were full, with vacated tables quickly refilled by new customers; a good sign.

      We were offered a table right by the window so we could watch the world to-ing and fro-ing, either to Real China or to the Vue cinema, on the opening night of the new Bond film. The restaurant itself is spacious, has floor to ceiling windows looking out onto the concourse and has a very high ceiling. Indeed, it would have been entirely possible to have inserted a mezzanine floor to increase the number of tables available. As it is, the space does tend to reflect sound and so it can be a little noisy when full.

      Whilst we consulted the menu, which was pretty much as the takeaway copy I had picked up, but with some extra items only available in the restaurant, we chose a bottle of wine, a Berri Estates Merlot at £16.50, a not unreasonable price compared with what we have paid at other establishments.

      We chose the Platter for 2 as a starter to share: four chunks of chicken with two different dressings; sausage shaped kebabs, which were very spicy; and two different types of bhajis, with spinach and with onion. To go with this, two different dips: a traditional mint and yoghurt and what tasted like a tamarind dip. Very tasty indeed and good start to our meal: enough and not too filling. For our main courses my wife chose the Saag Lamb and I chose the Prawn and Scallop Moilee. We also selected a side dish of Vegetable Panchrattni and Lemon Rice to go with it all.

      The whole meal was delicious and the wine we had chosen went with it particularly well. Throughout, the service was just as we like it: attentive but not intrusive. If there was one thing on which we might comment it is that the main course did take rather a long time to reach the table after we had finished our starter. However, it wasn't as if it was unacceptably long so we'll let it pass on this occasion.

      The meal came to a very reasonable total of just over £60 for the two of us. Would we return? Most certainly, and we will take our grown-up children next time they visit: they are both great fans of Indian food, especially our son, who lives in Manchester and regularly eats out on the Curry Mile in Rusholme, and knows a thing or two about good curries.

      I'm sure he will be impressed.


      Abridged version of review posted on TripAdvisor.

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