The Sultan of Lancaster

Unimpressive curry house with bad menu
  • 2

Time Out Says

To British curry fiends, a restaurant called The Sultan of Lancaster would bring to mind a dimly lit den of suggestive scarlets, wailing Indian vocals, the inimitable smell of stale ghee, a condiment trio of viscous mango chutney, bitter lime pickle and breath-destroying raw onions spinning lazily atop a slightly sticky table and a dhansak that’d burn your tongue right out of your mouth. Authentic the typical British curry house might not be, but nothing beats it – and it’s missing from Dubai.

Granted, here you can find a thousand fantastic Indian restaurants boasting a plethora of dishes much closer to those actually eaten on the Subcontinent, but sometimes we get a craving for something altogether more… well, Anglicised. In fact, my flatmate and I were almost embarrassingly excited when we heard about the Sultan of Lancaster, an import from none other than the delightful English town of Bolton.

On entering the front door, our hopeful little faces fell. The space was modern, way too bright, and silent but for the hum of the ovens’ extractor fans. Any Lancastrian sultan worth his salt would have taken one look and fled to his palace.

A traditional curry house menu should be longer than Barack Obama’s ‘to do’ list – but what was before us was shorter than George Bush’s ‘mission accomplished’ list, and just as muddled, yielding more European options than curries.

Determinedly shunning the tagliatelle arrabiata, sirloin steak and panini with spiced Asian ‘slaw’, we ordered the Asian bhaji, a chicken tikka masala and chicken mughlai-style curry, along with a couple of poppadums. True to our request, exactly two popadums arrived on a sterile white plate – and they were the ‘proper’ thin type, not the slightly thicker, infinitely more satisfying approximation you’d find overflowing in a basket in Lancaster. Our request for mango chutney was met with a sad shake of the head.

Soon enough, the bhajis were brought out. Despite the menu’s bracketed description of them as pakoras, what arrived was essentially a platter of vegetable tempura, which, while enjoyable, were not quite the plump, crispy onion balls we’d hoped for. My chum’s chicken tikka masala (yes, an Anglo-Indian dish) was satisfyingly rich and tangy, although it could have done with less salt and more sweetness. The moghlai curry, apparently a dish very popular in Delhi, had a pleasant smokiness to it, but the chicken was tough as an old bird. Our naan bread was again the ‘proper’ sort – thinner and drier than you’d get in Blighty. We were left full, but quietly despondent. Will the real Sultan of Lancaster please stand up?

The bill (for two)
1x Apple juice Dhs12
1x Classic fruit punch Dhs15
1x Water Dhs12
1x Asian bhaji Dhs22
1x Chicken tikka masala Dhs39
1x Chicken mughlai curry Dhs39
1x Nan Dhs17
Service charge Dhs15.60
Total Dhs171.60

By Daisy Carrington  | 11 May 2009

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Details

CuisinesAmerican, Indian
7:00 AM to 11:00 PM
Sunday: 7:00 AM to 11:00 PMMonday: 7:00 AM to 11:00 PMTuesday: 7:00 AM to 11:00 PMWednesday: 7:00 AM to 11:00 PMThursday: 7:00 AM to 1:00 AMFriday: 7:00 AM to 1:00 AMSaturday: 7:00 AM to 1:00 AM
Show number 04 438 9610
Dubai, Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach Residence
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