Friday, 27 January 2012

Review - Aziz

I watched three films this week. The Skin I Live In, Shame and The Artist. As I emerged from the cinema for the third time with my 'incredibly good looking friend' who owns only one pair of non-suede shoes (I appreciate this in a friend, it legitimises the fact that about half of my shoes are suede), we talked about which of them I'd liked best. They were all really good and I highly recommend them all but they were so different, it's quite difficult to compare. The Artist was probably the most enjoyable. The Skin I Live In was (for want of a better word) the most mind-fucky and imaginative. Shame was the best put together, just. But that doesn't help to form an opinion on which is the best film. The same applies for food. How do you compare Nopi (not that I've been yet) to Zigni House? After dinner, we were planning on getting ingredients and cooking but a wave of cba washed over us and we decided to eat out. Then it turns out that some other friends were planning on getting £5 pizza from Fire & Stone. Going there to eat would have been very good for this post since I could have been all 'the best opportunity to truly compare is to put them on the same medium, a pizza base'. Yes, I definitely had this thought when 'Incredibly Good Looking' (he requested this nickname for anyone who hasn't got that yet) asked where I'd rather go. But we ended up at Aziz and although that denies me a neat blog structure, I'm glad. I've heard only bad things about F&S and also, I'm not keen on pizza. Getting drunk on chilli (and wine) was much more fun.
Poppadums came with fresh, presumably home made chutneys and pickles. The hot chilli pickle manages to straddle the fine line between mellow and spicy. Nice! They set up an extra little side table for all our mains which I thought was a nice touch. Chicken dhansak, lamb methi, chicken biryani (although we ordered lamb, -1), sag aloo, rice, naan and shobzi bhaji (for free, +1).
The dhansak had a sharp chilli kick cutting through the creaminess of the lentils. The chicken breast was tender and not a jot overdone. The lamb was dark and rich and the fenugreek didn't overwhelm. I'm thinking about the sauce I was too full to finish and feel sad now. Lamb again, meltingly tender but still a little fibrous. Biryani had lovely bherestha (caramelised crispy onions) on top although I think that would've gone better with lamb but that's just personal preference. The vegetable sauce which accompanied it was a little heavy handed with the lob. The other vegetable dishes more than made up for it - the sag aloo tasted both fresh and soft lacked the excess oil drowning it that so many Indians make the mistake of adding. The cauliflower in the fried vegetables emitted a sweetness that the potatoes alongside it had taken on. All this went really well with the great added touch of a garnish of cucumber and red onion. And we didn't need to add any finger chilli to our food, everything was plenty hot enough. For the three of us (although it would easily have fed four) with a bottle of wine, two beers and a student discount and a tip (which they didn't add on without asking which I appreciate) this all came to £18 each. Delicious. Without a doubt the best Indian I've eaten at in Oxford.

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