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Aagrah, Woodlands, Doncaster

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Speedy comes up trumps at this popular Indian restaurant

The nickname Speedy may well be a joke, based on a character and demeanour that on first meeting seems decidedly laid back, but you can’t deny he’s decisive when it matters.


Our waiter at Aagrah was put firmly on the spot by my dining companion Martin, who was struggling to get to grips with what can be a bewilderingly extensive menu and decided to let Speedy do the heavy lifting.


“I don’t eat meat but all vegetarian and fish dishes are fine, and I do like my curry on the spicy side,” he said. “So what do you recommend?”


Speedy continued to look as if he could sleep standing up, but in the time it takes to bite into a crisp poppadum (90p each with pickle tray £2.50) he came back with an immediate answer that made it clear he knew the menu inside out and had a ready solution to Martin’s dining dilemma.


A handful of options were immediately forthcoming and it took no time for Martin to find a suggestion that fitted his dietary requirements perfectly.


For starters an individual portion of the Aagrah’s special vegetarian mixed platter (normally £7.50 for two) provided an excellent selection of lahsen mushroom, onion bhaji, vegetable samosa and paneer tikka. Everything was tasty and fresh, the bhaji and samosa were crunchy and not at all greasy.


Seeing as I’d been cast in the role of carnivore for this review I dived without hesitation into the lamb chops, and was rewarded with four sensational cutlets, marinated and chargrilled and served with a drizzle of Kashmiri sauce. Red meat is an occasional treat for me these days so I don’t want to waste my time on anything mediocre; this was superb.


For mains Speedy came up trumps with the suggestion of the special vegetarian thali (£11.95) which was tweaked to include a shellfish element. Four taster dishes of prawn and spinach curry, mushrooms, mixed spicy vegetables and aubergines, served with a light and chewy roti, provided all the variety and spicy heat my hard-to-please companion wanted. Add a naughty but irresistible side dish of mater paneer (£4.50) and he was reduced to a contented silence, other than to murmur that the meal as whole had been ‘seriously good’.


I had to agree. For my main dish I selected one of the regional specialities, chicken achar (£8.95). Sharp rather than chilli-hot, this combination of tender chicken breast with a sauce of green coriander, methi and mustard seeds among many other components, really gave my taste buds a good workout, and the light, fluffy nan bread £2.60) was the perfect soaker-upper, along with a portion of fragrant saffron lemon rice (£2.70).


With a couple of pints of Kingfisher lager (£4.40 each) and a jug of freshly made salty lassi (5.95) to quench our thirst this was a meal to remember in a very relaxed, laid-back setting. Thanks, Speedy.


Aagrah, Great North Road, Woodlands, Doncaster, DN6 7RA

Tel: 01302 728 888