Here in the UK, we’ve become accustomed to assuming that most Indian restaurants simply provide a customary range of curries, naan breads and rice dishes. You’d be forgiven, therefore, if you were more than a little sceptical of venturing away from your usual chicken korma dish and trying something unfamiliar.
NOUSH, located on Richmond Road in Twickenham, has arrived to show us what it’s like to indulge in some true Indian street cuisine, and trust us, it’s worth stepping out of your comfort zone for.
Despite only having been a resident in Twickenham for around six weeks, NOUSH has racked up a host of stellar reviews on TripAdvisor, with locals donning the restaurant as a “delicious upmarket Indian restaurant” and a “great and distinctive addition to the town”. We headed to the eatery to find out what all of the fuss is about.
Upon arrival, the exterior of the restaurant only enhanced our curiosity further as there were little defining features to give us a feel of what to expect. This, if you’re feeling a little adventurous, can only be seen as a positive. Inside, the front of house area was noticeably spacious, providing a chilled atmosphere for diners to enjoy their meal in. The decor was suitably sparing, pinpointing the focus of our visit onto the dining experience rather than excessive decorations dotted about the room. This being said, two remarkable chandeliers hung from the ceiling, elevating the mood and adding a real hint of elegance to the afternoon. The simplicity of the decor was oddly charming and ultimately effective – not overbearing but providing us with enough for our eyes to gawk at.
We were welcomed into the restaurant by the manager himself, Anil Dhar – it became clear that Mr. Dhar was accustomed to personally greeting his customers, ensuring that they are made to feel right at home. His attentive nature became further apparent when we were almost immediately presented with a glass of still water to clear our palates and begin our meal. In addition to the water, we opted for a glass of house white wine – a fruity and refreshing selection, although next time we visit we are keen to try another from their extensive wine list, or perhaps, if we’re feeling a little indulgent, we’ll opt for a wine from their premium selection.
NOUSH states that it “brings to you the world of authentic Indian cuisine” and that it certainly does. Their standard menu holds a vast selection of a variety of dishes, from traditional Indian grills to curries with a twist, proving that NOUSH is anything but your standard curry house. We were presented with a range of dishes to try from the starters section of the menu, in order to get a taste for what true Indian cuisine was all about. The first dish, Pani Puri, was unlike anything we had anticipated and entirely exceeded expectations. The dish, which is one of the most popular in the Indian street food scene and is designed to be eaten whole, married together sweetness and savoury and topped it all off with an appropriately spicy kick. The unique blend of flavours and ingredients, including mint, coriander and chickpeas, tantalised our taste buds and left us yearning for more. It’s accompaniment, Dahi Puri, another traditional Indian specialty that consists of hollow semolina balls filled with chickpeas, sweet yoghurt and spiced potato, boasted equally intense flavours that burst in our mouths as soon as we sunk our teeth in it.
The second plate we tried hosted the Chicken Sixer and the Crispy Fried Squid. The Chicken Sixer, a number of crispy chicken strips lathered in a tangy sauce, maintained the fiery element that had been present throughout the previous dishes and rapidly became a contender for our favourite dish of the afternoon. Despite previous reservations regarding seafood as a whole, the Crispy Fried Squid managed to win us over – warm and soft on the inside with a deliciously crisp batter coating and clearly fried to perfection. The food had thus far pushed our personal boundaries and challenged us to try something new, with rewarding results. One of the main surprises of the afternoon came upon scouring the menu to take an in-depth look at the prices – we were astonished to see that the superb quality of food available was so without the expected hefty price tag, making NOUSH an affordable option for those looking to treat themselves to a night of culinary fervor.
The Vegetable Samosa Chaat, consisting of green peas and potato, was a little wilder than your average samosa from the local takeaway with the spice coming through mid-bite, leaving a fiery aftertaste in our mouths. The Crispy Spiced Prawns on the other hand fused flavours of sweet chilli and sesame seeds and proved to be another hit, showcasing that whilst NOUSH may be the new kid on the block, those in charge are certainly far from being novices. If you’re a slightly larger group then take your seat at the chef’s table, a specially designated dining area where you can watch your food being prepared. You don’t need to watch the food being prepared however to see that expert care and precision is taken when doing so, as the presentation of the dishes was not only neat and appetising, but pretty glamorous.
Sharing the flavours of authentic Indian street food is an integral part of NOUSH’s values and is what they pride themselves on achieving. As far as we were concerned, it was mission accomplished – we left the restaurant feeling as though we’d had a taste of true Indian street culture. It looks as though NOUSH could be a fierce and fiery competitor and undoubtedly one of the most refined new Indian restaurants around.
Head to the restaurant daily from 12:30PM – 3PM for lunch, 5:30PM – 10PM Sunday to Thursday and 5:30PM – 10:30PM Friday and Saturday for dinner. If you’re up for invigorating your taste buds but you’d rather do it from the comfort of your own home, not to worry – NOUSH also delivers via Deliveroo and Just Eat. So if you think you’ve tried all there is to try in the world of authentic Indian street cuisine – think again!