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Atithi Indian Restaurant, Twickenham

Pre-starter Atithi, Twickenham
I've been coming to Atithi regularly for years now and I am fairly resolute it's the best Indian restaurant in Richmond and Twickenham, and in case you are wondering... yes I have tried Tangawizi <rolls eyes> but their service is too rushed, the food is very good, although its not the standard of Atithi, but I do appreciate Tanga's fun atmosphere and a slick dining room, its just their service puts me off every time.

Crispy Butterfly'd Prawn Starter, Atithi Twickenham
So here we are, back at Atithi again, with another load of hubby's family, this time from the other side of the gene pool. Atithi is in a convenient spot in Twickenham on York St where London buses literally stop outside the restaurant, so we introduced our guests with an obligatory pint or two at a local Twickenham pub, then piled them on to a bus with promises to deliver on 'that curry restaurant' they'd been hearing about from other family members.

Peacock Artwork, Family Style Dining - Atithi Twickenham
I am a creature of habit and almost always order a mango paneer with a lamb galifi handi - this is a starter of grilled cheese and a main of lamb curry in a crust. Why do I order these everytime? I love the contrast of the salty paneer with the sweet buttery mango sauce to start, and as for the galifi handi?... I have an unhealthy obsession with pastry, so on the rare occasions I allow myself a reprieve, this is it. The gilafi handi comes with a wicked pastry top (hard to resist) and tender lamb in a thick curry sauce - which is great too. 

Atithi Twickenham

However, we did try a few other starters, prawn and chicken - which I'll describe later, but we were actually presented a nice little pre starter beforehand which consisted of a crunchy, salty/sweet snack, perfect to wake the palate. Incidentally, I'm not sure if the pre starter is presented to everyone because this is something that has only recently been done. 

Spinach & Lamb Curry two ways, Gilafi Handi - Aitithi Indian Restuarant Twickenham
Now back to the starters of prawn. These are sizeable prawns, butterfly'd and coated in a crispy batter. They come out quite flat and look a little bit like chicken. They have a slight spicy pepper and paprika flavour and I felt the prawn meat got a little lost in the batter, but it was still tasty. Along with this we tried the chicken tikka, which I suspect was skewed chicken cooked in the tandoor. It had all the smoky flavour you'd expect and was moist and tender, not the dry like meat you can get in other places. 

Of the mains we tried:
The railway lamb - a clean flavoured curry with an almond sauce with coconut. 
Gilafi Handi - Lamb in a thick tomato & onion sauce served with a pastry top
Chicken Chettinad - Chicken cooked in a coconut sauce with spinach
Laal Maans - Lamb in a hot sauce of chilli and onion

Chicken in Coconut, Lamb in a hot chilli curry - Atithi Twickenham
All of the dishes have a much cleaner, lighter and delicate flavour than the heavier dishes you may be have eaten at you local curry house. If you're a fine dining noob (I'm still learning btw), I would recommend the prawn starter and the Gilafi Handi.

For desserts we had Gulab Jamun, these are small dough balls soaked and served in a green cardamom and rose water syrup. They are presented warm and the syrup is very sweet but the dough balls are delicious and contrast well with the syrup.  

Gulab Jamun (Dough balls in syrup), Atithi Indian Restaurant Twickenham
I figure these guys are getting more and more popular - it was busy the Tuesday night we visited and they are pro's at handling groups so we always love to go there.
They are expecting crowds for the rugby so if you're thinking of getting in, I figure book soon. If not, wait til the crowds subside and enjoy it Atithi at your leisure.

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