I’m simply going to start this review with Mr Kiwi’s response when I told him we were going to Brilliant “Brilliant Resaurant? HELL YES – it’s meant to be one of the best in the country!” Disclosure: We were invited guests to Brilliant Restaurant – but all thoughts are mine.
He doesn’t tend to get as overtly excited about things as much as I do, so this set my expectation bar super high. Then I heard that Prince Charles & Camilla have been a few times – which makes sense with RAF Northolt and Heathrow airport only a few miles away. Charter a flight home, grab dinner on the way.
Run by family for over 40 years, Brilliant has earnt a reputation for delicious Punjabi cuisine, with a Kenyan twist.
Having a curry once a week has become something that I just associate with living in England, and living in an area where the restaurant competition is fierce it’s set a very high bar to what we enjoy.
Oh, did I mention we judge a restaurant by the chutney selection? The array of flavour at Brilliant Restaurant was excellent. We chose a bottle of New Zealand wine to enjoy with dinner, a Waddling Duck Sauvignon Blanc (with notes of goosebury, peach and passionfruit) that simply made me smile.
Now, I’m achingly aware that I will never ever be able to call myself an expert of Punjabi or Gujurati food. But. I do know not to call Chai Tea, Chai Tea – it means Tea Tea basically, I have a well documented full blown obsession with Vada Pao, I’ve got a fair array of lime pickles, mango chutneys and masala coffees in my cupboards and have been known to attempt making Black Daal myself. I also know what I like – and have been known to stop attending restaurants when the chefs change, and the food isn’t as good anymore – we’ve also followed chefs from restaurant to restaurant. What can I say, we love the cuisine.
Our array at Brilliant was fantastic – after meeting the owner/author Dipna, we found ourselves with a very full table of starters: the Tandoori Mixed Grill of Tandoori Chicken Tikka, Tandoori Lamb Chops, Seekh Kebabs and Tandoori Prawns; Papri Chaat – spiced chickpea and potato topped with savoury vermicelli, tamarind and yoghurt; Jeera Chicken – a brilliant classic with roasted cumin and black pepper and vegetable samosas, just because it was World Samosa Day.
(We were with good friends of ours, funnily enough with Kenyan roots – and for once revelled in the family style sharing – you can’t beat trying everything.)
For our mains, we also ordered big and family style: Karahi Gosht (one of my favourites) – chunks of lamb tossed together with red and green capsicums in a spicy masala sauce; Murgh Makhani – a Mughlai chicken specialty in a creamy butter sauce; their ridiculously good Alu Gobi – potato and cauliflower florets flavoured with fresh ginger and garlic; and Dal Makhani the classic dish of creamed, slow cooked black lentils tempered and seasoned with mild spices.
We also ordered a bevy of naan, roti, a pretty epic stuffed Alu Paratha – whole wheat layered bread stuffed with spicy mashed potatoes and sizzled on the griddle; and a bit of rice. God lord re-writing this is just making my mouthwater, and simultaneously wish that we’d left some to take home. Though we’re good enough mates that it might have been awkward to fight over who got them…
We finished with a spoonful or two of carrot halwa and kulfi, a sweet ice cream that’s the perfect end to a lovely meal.
Would I go back? Definitely. Will I be taken back by the Mr? Definitely. As I write this, Mr Kiwi and his brother are comparing calenders for a revisit to Brilliant…
(Whilst writing I must mention the care the team took to make the dining as Covid safe as possible; an automatic hand sanitiser machine, all the staff wearing masks, temperature taking at the door and tables spaced with real care.)