1st Floor, 8a-11a Kings Walk Reading Berkshire RG1 2HG
Tel 0845 201 7953
Mon-Sat noon-2.30pm, 6pm- 11pm
Sadly we can't all afford the plane ticket needed to sample Indian cuisine on its native soil, but, thanks to fantastic restaurants such as this one in Reading, those in search of a little spice and Eastern flavour need not worry. Enjoying a central location in close proximity to The Oracle, Bengal Reef is perfectly placed. This restaurant serves locals looking to add a vibrant twist to their meal out, as well as attract discerning diners from a wider area, whose tastebuds have been set tingling by this restaurant's fast-spreading reputation for authentic Indian cuisine.
Although it serves some of the finest contemporary Indian cuisine around, Bengal Reef nonetheless retains an authentic feel, with all of the traditional values for which Indian restaurants are rightly renowned. This means that not only is the food quality of the highest order, but a soothing ambience and warm welcome are present in abundance. The restaurant is simply and stylishly decorated, with soft lighting and tables that will happily seat a romantic meal for two or a group of friends out to celebrate, with equal comfort and elegance.
We visited on a Thursday evening and although quite early, it was already busier than many establishments could hope to be even at the weekend - a good indication of its excellence and popularity. My companion and I shared the Bengal Reef starter special, which comprised mussels, mirchi paneer, paper prawns, khadom phool and king prawns, served with salad. This mixture of seafood and homemade Indian cheese, pan fried with mixed peppers, spring onions, tomatoes and garlic, alongside minced lamb covered with spicy mashed potatoes, met with our contented approval. Any fears of it being too filling, however, were allayed when our incredible-looking main courses arrived. I opted for a murgh mossala - chicken cooked with lemongrass, shallots and green herbs, served with spicy minced lamb and garnished with fresh coriander - which made a delicious impact without being too overbearing. This was nicely complemented by a vegetable side dish of potatoes and spinach with a touch of garlic, or to use its official name, aloo palak. Meanwhile, my partner settled on a chicken sagwalla, cooked with spinach and a touch of garlic; it was not too spicy and ticked all the right boxes for her, being someone with a low tolerance level to very hot food. Needless to say, we both finished our meals feeling entirely spoiled, satisfied and smiling.
Given Bengal Reef's popularity and excellent location, booking ahead is highly recommended, particularly at weekends. If you have a party to plan or a special function coming up, let Bengal Reef take the reins and cater for the occasion with true Eastern flair - available even on Sundays when the restaurant is closed to the general public. Don't worry about that plane ticket - here in Reading there is a little piece of India available to all.
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