Noorish, a spice delicatessen and small café, opened recently offering Indian food to either eat on the premises or take away.
Last year Noorish had a stall at the excellent Southsea Food Festival and was offering spice kits for making your own curry dishes. Not only does this enterprise make its own blends of spices, it also offers attractive recipe cards in vibrant sari colours.
The entrance is off Marmion Road on Wilton Place where, according to the staff member with equally vibrant red-pink hair, the owner nips across the road from her home kitchen to stock up the refrigerated shelving with all manner of home-cooked dishes.
On view are samosas; potato patties; minced lamb patties; mint, spinach and chickpea patties; chickpea salads; curried butternut squash wraps; other wraps including coconut and chicken, coconut prawn and slow-cooked lamb ones.
Or there’s a wide variety of curries including the above fillings plus a coconut vegetable one, one with prawns and peppers, aubergines in a spicy tamarind sauce and a potato and pea curry.
I suspect the owner decided to open Noorish because she was inspired by home-cooking and unimpressed by the Anglicised verisons of Indian food in restaurants, fast food outlets and especially mass-produced Indian meals found on supermarket shelves.
So the plan is to revitalise local tastebuds by introducing the real Indian McCoy. Out of small things great empires are borne. Think Patak sauces.
I sat at a delightful cream wrought iron table by the counter and ordered a potato, mint and chickpea pattie, the spicing vibrant and perfectly-judged. A mango lassi, a popular and traditional Punjabi yogurt-based drink of the Indian Subcontinent, came with it. Straight out of the local wholesale emporium, it didn’t shine. But the pattie was the star.
Choosing several dishes to take away was a dilemma. Coconut, chicken, vegetarian? The buttersquash one, heated and served at home alongside a slow-cooked lamb curry, was nothing short of excellent. The lamb curry, over a basmati rice, demonstrated that we’ve been deluding and denying ourselves the real spices of India.
This revelatory dipping into all things Noorish – and moreish – can only move us on to enjoy more of the Real Thing. Noorish’s slogan is ‘Nourishing Your Senses.’ Right in one. My bill came to just over £10 for all three dishes, not including the lassi.
Noorish, 27A Marmion Road (entrance on Wilton Place), Southsea, PO5 2AT
(023) 9273 3579
Open: Mon-Sat 8.45am-6pm
Food: Four (out of five)
Disabled access: Too small for wheelchair users
How to get there: How to get there: Marmion Road is accessed off Victoria Road South or by Elm Grove and then taking Palmerston Grove Road South, and turning left into Marmion Road. Wilton Place is next left. On-street parking.