Eating out <<
at the Banyan
Having previously visited the Kings Arms in Fernhurst, and been told about the
bijou style Indian restaurant next door under the same ownership, we were
expecting a treat from the Banyan and were not disappointed.
Carefully considered, the restaurant is situated in a
converted barn and is therefore small enough to feel
intimate but large enough to be properly appointed. The
rustic brick and woodwork contribute to the comfort
of the surroundings and the service is similarly friendly
and also authentic, since the staff are all from India and
therefore truly knowledgeable about the cuisine.
The menu is extensive and features many traditional
dishes. However, this is not your average curry house;
fresh ingredients are sourced and used in dishes created
by professional Indian chefs as and when you order them,
not in advance or pre-prepared. Fenugreek leaves are
fresh not dry and the vindaloo is pork with no substitution
of other meats.
We perused the menu while nibbling on poppadums and
dips and chose palak samosa (flaky pastry stuffed with
spinach) and pyaz ke pakore (crispy onion bhajis) to start.
Immediately the difference between your average Indian
and the Banyan was obvious. Apart from tasting delicious,
the dishes were truly flavoursome, light and genuine.
Having asked for a recommendation for my main course,
I went for murg methi (chicken tikka cooked with fresh
ginger, garlic, lemon and fenugreek leaves). As previously
mentioned, the fenugreek was fresh not dried and there
was enough heat to add bite without being overpowering.
My partner Alistair was served pahadi gosht (lamb cooked
in a coriander and mint chutney based curry sauce tender and tasty. Our choices were accompanied by palak
chawl (rice cooked in spinach with Indian herbs) and jeera
aloo (spiced potatoes with cumin seeds).
Although there was hardly room for more, I couldn’t resist
sampling the whole menu so ordered a nariyal ladoo (a
fresh coconut and milk dessert, served with either mango
or pistachio ice cream - I went for mango), again at the
34 | R&A Godalming & Villages
recommendation of staff, which was sweet and lovely.
Other items that caught my eye on the menu were,
for starters the chef’s special of diced chicken infused
with garlic chutney with a hint of coriander; a sour and
spicy shrimp delicacy, dressed in spring onions and bell
peppers; and tilapia fillets marinated in pickle flavoured
spices and cooked in the tandoor. For mains the range
included chicken biryani (basmati rice flavoured with
exotic spices and layered with chicken, cooked in a thick
gravy and served with cucumber raita); noorjahani gosht
(tender dices of lamb cooked in a creamy cashew curry
sauce, garnished with shredded almonds - a traditional
Mughal delicacy); Goan pork vindaloo (a traditional Goan
pork dish flavoured with chillies, garlic and kokum fruit);
mixed seafood platter (king prawns, tilapia and salmon
marinated for seven hours with spices and herbs then
cooked on charcoal); sabzi anarkali (an Indian spread of
vegetables in a tomato curry garnished with paneer balls
- a delicacy of the Mughal era); and dal makhani (black
lentils simmered overnight and finished with a buttery
sauce - a Punjabi delicacy.
Events and private parties are also catered for, or large
parties can book the whole restaurant for a special
occasion (there is room for approximately 40 covers). The
restaurant also offers a take away service - see the menu
section of the website at http://banyanrestaurant. or call 01428 644090.
Alistair pronounced it ‘the best curry ever’ and certainly
there was no comparison with your average takeaway or
restaurant of that nature. Authentic Indian fare at its best.
Midhurst Road, Haslemere, Surrey GU27 3HA.
01428 644090
Lucy Barker
February 2015