Pic: Harry Wilding
If you saunter up Hucknall Road, you will notice a rather grand building next to a mini-supermarket that shall remain nameless. This building – a former printworks - is home to the Indian Community Centre Association and, with it, the Dosti Luncheon Club. Like its Pakistani counterpart on Woodborough Road, the ICCA runs a no-nonsense canteen service that is open to the entire community, from elders in saris to nearby office sorts, and is one of those places that you hear about but never get round to checking out. This time, we did.
Situated downstairs in the building, the actual venue has impressively high ceilings and windows that let the sun stream down on us. There’s no messing about here; you grab a TV dinner-style tray, you pay for a set meal (£3.99 for the non-vegetarian option, £3.70 for the vegetarian option) and queue up to be served the exciting range of Indian thali dishes. I started with the moong ki dulhi dal, a lentil-based dish with a soup-like consistency. With hints of coriander and cumin, the dish was perfect for lunch - spiced enough to give a heat in the aftertaste but not enough to call it hot. Dipping my chapatti into it, I quickly demolished the portion.
I then turned my attentions to the chicken curry, a medium-strength tangy tomato-based dish that benefitted from the ghia yogurt I mixed into the sauce to cool the heat. The chicken leg was so well-cooked that the meat just fell off the bone, and was so tender I wished I could have had two. The rice was plain, but when it’s as fluffy and well cooked as this, it didn’t need any additional touches. Starting to feel pleasantly full, I dug into the aloo gobi. The mildest of all the dishes, the cauliflower – of which I’m not always the biggest fan – was cooked beautifully; still firm but not crunchy. I didn’t feel I had enough room, so I took the dessert – a sweet and juicy pear – away with me for later.
The Dosti Luncheon Club is a brilliant idea; a communal kitchen that you can just pop along to and enjoy with friends, family or whoever you’re sat next to, with a Bollywood film playing in the background. Join the ICCA’s Facebook group, and you get the set menu every morning. Actually, don’t, because it’s too damn tempting and worth jumping on the bus from town for. This is seriously good food at an amazing price.
99 Hucknall Road, Carrington, NG5 1QZ