Since the COVID lock-down began to lift, it’s been a difficult time for small businesses and especially for the hospitality trade. Restaurants have had to reduce capacity, take new precautions are are suffering lower footfall and an increase in “no-show” bookings.
So, we thought it was time to visit some of the top rated restaurants in the borough, see how they were coping with the changes and most of all to taste the food!
Thira Restaurant, had been on our list for quite some time, having been in the Top 5 on Trip Advisor for quite some time, including a long-held spot at number one. The restaurant sits on the corner of Darwen Street and St Peter Street, just across the road from the Cathedral.
We didn’t need to book, even though it was a Friday evening, and the door was opened for us on our arrival and we were shown to a suitably spaced table by a “visored” waiter. It all seemed very well organised, including a sanitation table near the entrance with hand gel and disposable paper towels. We felt very well spaced from the other tables and it was pretty obvious they have had to remove around 50% of their tables.
The waiter brought us our menus and throughout the evening stood 2 metres away from the table whenever it was possible.
The restaurant defines itself serving the cuisine of Kerala, a state in the south of India and we loved the compact menu, which made a pleasant change to the usual page-turners at Indian restaurants.
Between the 3 of us, we shared the “compulsory” pappadams with a range of chutneys. They were crisp and light. The churtneys were in very small containers, but we didn’t need to ask for more supplies, as more appeared just when we needed them.
For starters, we chose a range from the Vegetarian section. We opted for Mirchi Paneer (in a spicy tomato sauce with bell peppers), Parippu Vada (crispy fried Bengal gram dumplings flavoured with shallots and curry leaves & served with coconut chutney) and the classic Onion Bahji. We all sampled the starters and loved them all. The star for us was the Mirchi Paneer, with a rich sauce and just the right amount of heat. The onion bahji were small but plentiful, but you know what they say…small is beautiful, and they certainly were….crispy and cooked to perfection.
For main course we opted for Pachakkari Korma ( a veggie classic with cashew and coconut sauce), Thalassery Kozhi Korma (chicken this time) and Chicken Tikka Jalfrezi. We shared a range of sides from garlic naan to mushroom pilau rice.
The food in arrived in what we thought we disappointing small round dishes…..but happily we were proved wrong. They dishes were deceptively deep and filled to the brim. As soon as we took our first taste, we knew why the restaurant is so highly rated. Rich flavours, creamy kormas and tender ingredients. We all agreed they were the best we had eaten for as long as we could remember.
We must also give an honourable mention to the mushroom pilau too. It was buttery and fluffy and just had that extra wow!
The restaurant efficiently got us to record our name and contact number for track and trace at the end of the meal too.
“We’ll be back”
So, now we know what all the fuss was about. Admittedly, the restaurant is not the most plush in terms of appearance, but the food and service more than made up for that. For three of us, with two rounds of drinks the bill came to just under £60 before tip. It deserves the high ratings it has received and it will now be firmly on our “go to” list of eating places in the area. For the food & service, it is definitely a 5 star rating from us.
On a separate note, the restaurant was not busy on a Friday evening and deserves support and it was disappointing to hear that they had two “no shows” already that evening, where people had booked, but just not turned up. Restaurants deserve better treatment, particularly at the moment. We had an enjoyable evening that as well as the great food and service, felt like a safe experience too. Great work!
|Monday||05:00 pm – 10:00 pm|
|Wednesday||05:00 pm – 10:00 pm|
|Thursday||05:00 pm – 10:00 pm|
|Friday||05:00 pm – 10:00 pm|
|Saturday||03:00 pm – 10:00 pm|
|Sunday||03:00 pm – 10:00 pm|