Archana

Where: 53 Dublin Rd, Belfast BT2 7HE, beside Filthy’s and the Subway.

What: Small family-run Indian restaurant that apparently started out as a veggie restaurant all those years ago, now serves some meat dishes too.

Prices: Veggie starters £4-5, sides £1-4, main dishes £7-9.

Vegan menu: They have a vegan version of probably every Indian dish you could think of. Various dhals and chickpea dishes which differentiate them from most places where your vegan option will be some veg and sauce. Also some cool dishes that you don’t see all too often like raj mah (kidney beans), bhindi masala (okra!) and sarson ka saag (spinach and spices). All of the rices and naans are vegan too. Everything is well marked and I think they get a lot of vegan business so there will be no problems. There’s also lunch thali options which are really nice and amazing value.

Drinks: Normal soft drinks, some beers, Indian wines if that is your thing.

Service: Friendly and prompt. I especially like when the owner comes out for a chat 🙂

Comfortable? Lots of nice paintings and statues. Grand as long as you’re not near a noisy group – otherwise it can get a bit hard to hear as the place is pretty small.

Was the food good? I love the food here – it’s always fresh and well-presented in cast-iron pans inside a kind of straw basket to save your hands. Portions are great. My usual pick is dhal saag, mushroom pilau rice and a garlic naan.

Toilets: Straight ahead when you go upstairs. Always spotless. I like the hand towels instead of paper towels – nice touch to have reusable ones instead of disposable.

My advice to the chef: Keep up the great work.

My advice to the manager: This place is a gem, I love it.

Overall: My favourite Indian restaurant in Belfast. Perfect for a group dinner or start to a night out.

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