How it rated

Quality of service excellent

Value for money competitive

Ambience pleasant, but unusual for an Indian restaurant

Speed of service good

Quality of food excellent

WHEN it comes to oriental cuisine I have always had a bit of a penchant for Chinese over Indian, but I thought I would give the Cheshire Tandoori in Castle a try to see if my mind could be swayed.

I last visited the restaurant in Chester Road about five years ago and since then it has undergone a dramatic transformation.

The restaurant has been transformed into an ultra-modern dining area with purple decor and, apart from the Indian music to serenade diners, there's no hint of any traditional Indian culture - but fortunately the cuisine is a real taste of authentic India.

After perusing the menu my companion and I decided to go for the set menu for two people, which includes popadoms, a choice of two starters, two mains, pilau rice, naan bread, a vegetable side dish and two glasses of wine - all for the bargain price of £29.95.

The popadoms were perfect - crispy without being greasy and the accompanying chutneys and pickles in an array of vibrant colours were in plentiful supply and very tasty.

For starters I went for the onion bhajis and my companion opted for the chicken shashlick. I got four bhajis, which was more than enough and I wasn't too bothered when my companion snaffled two of them because there was plenty to go around.

Now the problem with me and Indian restaurants is when the extensive menu of weird and wonderful dishes is put in front of me I tend to lose my nerve and go for the good old tried and tested chicken korma.

But this time I decided to throw caution to the wind and go for something completely different - and my pluckiness certainly paid off.

For my main course I opted for one of the restaurant specials - sylheti murgh tarkari.

This unusual chicken dish is cooked with pineapple, orange and aromatic ground spices to give a distinctive, mild spicy flavour - I later found out it had only been on the menu for two weeks and the waiters were keen to hear my verdict.

All I can say is it did not disappoint. The chicken was tender and succulent and the sauce, while unusual, complimented the meal perfectly.

My partner went for the lamb tikka massala, which was a vivid red in colour and tasted as good as it looked.

The accompanying dishes of sag aloo and naan bread rounded off the meal perfectly and there was more than enough left over to feed a third person.

While the food was exquisite the service was second to none. The waiters were friendly and attentive and the timing between courses was ideal.

While I'm still undecided if my preference for Chinese has been overtaken by Indian cuisine - it's certainly a close call.

The Cheshire Tandoori also provides a takeaway service, so whether you're dining in or taking out it's well worth a visit.