The last-minute offer from a babysitter gave me and my wife the chance of a rare meal out together.
But which of Kettering’s eateries would we choose?
As we hadn’t booked anywhere we decided to head into town and make our minds up on the way.
Among the contenders were the two national chain restaurants in Market Place, as well as the pub on our estate, but it was no real surprise when we found our feet taking us towards the Red Rose Indian restaurant in George Street.
Spicy, flavoursome food is always popular with us and, with the Red Rose being our nearest curry house, this was not the first time we have paid a visit.
Despite it being a Friday night we were shown a table straight away – in fact we could have chosen any one of half a dozen, it was that quiet. Maybe Saturday nights are curry night in Kettering.
Anyway, we were given our menus, which have been updated and improved since last we were here.
They now include useful details such as how hot the dishes are, allergy warnings and healthy options – although this last is surely relative.
After a lengthy discussion (should we get two chicken dishes and share them, or should I have a lamb curry and keep it all to myself?) we ordered and were brought the obligatory poppadums with our drinks shortly afterwards.
Before long the starters arrived and I eagerly tucked into my sheek kebab – minced lamb on a skewer with lashings of salad.
It was mouth-wateringly good and set me up nicely for the main course.
My wife munched her way through her tasty onion bhaji (which also came with salad) in good time – I think the walk to town must have given us an appetite.
Working on the theory that you can never have too many onions I had ordered the chicken dopiaza, while Karen, working on the theory that if she ordered a hot enough dish I wouldn’t want any of it, opted for the chicken tikka korai. When they arrived it was initially difficult to tell the two dishes apart – both the same colour and with copious amounts of onion and pepper – but one taste of the korai confirmed which was which.
Happily it wasn’t too spicy for me and we steadily worked our way through both dishes, accompanied by a boiled rice and a pilau rice.
And so ended our impromptu night out – luckily it’s mostly downhill on the way home!
The Red Rose might not be all shiny and new, unlike its Italian and Mexican neighbours, but it knows what it’s good at and, just as importantly, so do its customers.
So if you’re in need of a no-frills restaurant which serves up satisfying food at short notice, you could certainly do worse.
DISABLED ACCESS: Yes
COST OF OUR MEAL: £38.35
NEIL’S STAR RATING: 7/10
George Street, Kettering
Telephone: 01536 518776