I’m sure other allergy sufferers will agree with me when I say that eating at restaurants can often be a bit of a headache.
The list of menu items one can actually eat gets smaller and smaller as staff, unsure of ingredients, suggest you avoid various dishes to be ‘on the safe side’.
When I paid a visit to Masala City, on the other hand, the team gave me really clear information from the get-go, explaining what was contained in the dishes and making me feel very confident and secure about what I was eating.
This is surprisingly rare, and is testament to the great repartee that the service staff at Masala City has with its customers.
As I drank my rosé, I watched manager Murad greeting customers with warmth, particularly those who have been before - clearly, the team here take the time to get to know their regulars.
Listening to the diners interact with the staff, the guests obviously appreciate this little extra sense of community.
It really adds to the ambiance, and, interestingly, the contemporary decor of Masala City (I’m a particular fan of the gently colour-changing walls) contrasts with the range of classic Indian dishes on offer.
I started off with the Onion Bhaji (£3.95) - deep fried shredded onion mixed with selected herbs and spices with garam flour - which was delicious. It didn’t only taste great, with a delicate flavour and fresh spinach garnish, but it looked good as well, appetisingly arranged on the plate. I’ve never met any combination of melted cheese and bread that I didn’t like, so Masala City’s Cheese Naan (£3.95) obviously got a giant thumbs up from me.
The vegetarian Sag (£6.95), which can also be served with chicken, lamb, or prawn, is described in the menu as ‘a delicately spiced dish’. It’s certainly a wonderfully subtle flavour, which is great for those who, like me, err on the side of caution when it comes to spicy food.
If you’re looking for a tiny bit more of a kick, the Mushroom Bhaji (£4.25) is well worth a try.
Good news for hungry diner: the serving sizes are pretty big, and the food is very filling. I’m rarely unable to finish my plate, but despite how delicious the dishes were, even I had to admit defeat: one of my notes from my Masala City review outing reads simply ‘So much food!!!’.
In summary: genuinely friendly, lovely ambiance, and generous helpings of delicious food. A great experience. Absolutely worth a visit.
Masala City has two offers on at the moment: a four course meal from the Sunday Set Menu (starters, main, one side for every two people, rice or bread, and dessert, tea or coffee) for £13.95 per person, and a Wednesday Banquet five course meal, including starters, main dishes, side dishes, rice and naan for £14.95.
Masala City Indian Restaurant and Takeaway is located at 8 St Pancras, Chichester, PO19 7SJ. Telephone 01243 776008.