I am indebted to a reader for the tip that led to a visit to CLASSIC INDIAN CUISINE in West Hampstead. Set back from the road and tucked away beneath a block of flats, it is the sort of place only locals would be likely to stumble upon. It is well named in the sense that the menu differs little from the long lists associated with the "three-pot" school of Indian restaurant cooking, and the decor would seem to be the work of someone colour-blind, but the dishes are made with discernible care, and service from the manager is courteous and caring.
Among the first courses, tandoori chicken, seekh kebab and onion bhaji were all fine examples of their kind, and king prawn puri overcame completely its somewhat ersatz origins. My correspondent had liked the house special of chicken green masala and I can only endorse his decision. Green herbs made a fresh-tasting pur?e on which the sauce was based; tamarind and chilli gave it extra liveliness.
The balti lamb masala did not unravel for me what is considered so particular about balti cooking but karahi-cooked chick peas were beautifully spiced, as were aubergines stir-fried in the same manner. Breads are good; prices are low. This is an above-average curry house.