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Paprika
Paprika, Horndean
March 2007
We visited Paprika, Horndean, on Wednesday 14th March. Drinks beforehand were at the Colonial Bar which is about 150 yards away over the motorway bridge. 
It was a good turnout for a new venue, and we were made very welcome.  It's funny how you see the same faces turning up - the manager here had previously been involved in the Paribar restaurant in Petersfield, now the Cafe India takeaway.  Anyway, we enjoyed some tasty (if at times supernaturally colourful) food on what would otherwise have been a quiet Wednesday night in this quite sizeable restaurant. 
Some highlights included a special chicken dish, spinach with chickpeas, achari lamb, chicken with pineapple, and a king prawn dish.  Accompanied by a selection of naans, and probably too much rice. Not much variation in heat, but it was acceptable cooking and they were learning our likes and dislikes for the first time.  Will's thoughts (below) describe the food in more detail.
The conversation ranged widely as usual.  How and why we got to the Welsh language, I really can't remember, but one member knew just two words - croeso and ambwlans  (Welcome and Ambulance). The things that go between these - rugby match (rygbi) and beer (cwrw) - seem to be missing from his memory. 
Anyway, this is an addition to our circuit, and I'm sure we'll be back. 
March 2007: Will writes: graphic
Pre dinner drinks at the Colonial Bar.  Shock at plans to scrap line outs in Rugby Union! Perversion of the institution that is! Meanwhile, a conversion away, Paprika awaited our arrival.  
PLACE on first floor of 50’s prefab, straddling an underpass, from the outside has all the romance of motor way service caf.  Up the stairs mister and a cool interior greets, waiters in black, chocolate brown high backed leather seats. 
SERVICE excellent, most courteous, though we were only guests.
As for the FOOD, there was plenty, served in deep square ceramics.  Resolved to eat myself fitter.  Pilau rice for everyone, naans too.  Meaty fare inclusive of excellent blood orange Gujerati Lamb, tangy, spicy with potato and green chilli, hot Jalfrezi, gorgeous coconut overtones in a Lamb Bhuna.  Vegetables excited the taste buds too, Bombay Aloo, perfect Saag bhajee, a controlled explosion of ginger, garlic and mustard, a light Okra dish and an earthy chick pea curry.
Beforehand we enjoyed pleasant meat samosa, a chewy gooey onion bhajee with weirdly textured chicken tikka, kinda pulpy.  White wine, fine, medium dry sherry, Harvey’s Bristol cream (!) - I was well satisfied, past fussing, indeed it rounded off rather good meal. 
Coming full circle, in SUMMARY on first impressions, Paprika delivers good, clean* contemporary Indian restaurant cuisine.
…ON RETURNING… (04/07)
On Easter Saturday with mates down from London. In at 7, thin with fat wallets out at 9 fat with no wallet, later discovered in never before explored bowels of coat.  Having friends in the art insurance business has its perks, i.e. they can afford 2 whole restaurant meals (PRICES just above curry house norm).
Of course they couldn’t eat that amount of food on their own especially as Paprika portions are big, gravy a plenty plus house wine fills large glasses to the brim.  After Poppadoms, Tandoori Mixed Kebab included a remarkably spicy sheek, adipose, juicy and delicious, melt in mouth lamb tikka and stringy chicken tikka. 
A Passover feast had to involve Lamb, so I chose Lamb Tikka Dhansak (£7.50) – excellent meat, big chunks that fell obligingly apart at merest suggestion of a blade, blood orange lentil sauce smooth as satin, more sweet than sour with heady taste of coriander. Vegetables (£3.25) included Saag Aloo, moist, mixed veg, mostly cauli/aloo but with a pleasant mush of peas, tomato and onion, not forgetting another good bindi bhajee.  In five words - Bright colourful people, generous grub (though food dye is applied so the phrase is reversible).
How to get there:  Travelling South from Petersfield, it's on the Portsmouth Road (old A3) just before you reach the bridge over the A3(M).  There's a small shopping precinct, really just a single block, on the right and it's the last unit.
Address:
9 Horndean Precinct, Portsmouth Road, Horndean.
Pubs:
The Colonial Bar - about 100 yards away, across the A3(M) bridge.
Last visit:
March 2007
Phone:
023 9259 7111
graphic None
Bus: 41

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