Rebecca Paddick samples diverse Indian cuisine in the heart of Clifton Village, thanks to Nutmeg’s Menu 29
Nutmeg, the popular independent Indian restaurant based in Clifton Village, was opened in 2016 by Raja Munuswamy and head chef Arvind Pawar, and has since consistently delivered on authentic, high-quality Indian cuisine using ingredients sourced from local suppliers.
The restaurant earned a mention in the 2018 edition of The Michelin Guide, which praised its vibrant cooking, breads and daily ground spices, and the eatery today is renowned and loved for its expansive Menu 29 – inspired by the diversity of India and its states.
After schlepping up the (seemingly endless) hills from Bristol’s city centre to Clifton Village, we arrived with high expectations and big appetites. The décor is wonderfully colourful – bright bold patterns, and street-art-style murals on the walls, beautifully ornate umbrellas hanging from the ceilings, and rich polished wooden floors give the place a vibrant, warm and welcoming feel.
Nutmeg’s tasting menu focuses on one region at a time, changing every two months to ‘keep things fresh.’ It’s currently highlighting the culinary delights of Odisha, an eastern Indian state on the Bay of Bengal. The à la carte menu features flavours inspired by all 29 of India’s states, so we chose our starters and mains from this menu.
To start, we sampled the paneer tikka with turmeric, fenugreek and ginger roasted in a clay oven and the nawabi lamb tikka – lamb loin marinated with fresh ginger, garlic, chilli paste, hung yoghurt and lemon juice accompanied by a couple of Kingfisher beers. The chilli and ginger combined with the lamb certainly packed a punch, while the creamy paneer melted in the mouth.
Other generously sized starters include the ratalu ki tikki – sweet potatoes cooked with smoked spices, served with a tangy chilli and beetroot sauce and Mangalorean squid – fried squid battered with mixed grain flour, carom seeds, chilli paste and chef’s spice blend. They all sounded so good, we really could’ve tried them all, but we were saving ourselves for the main event… the chef’s specials.
I opted for the lamb shank – traditional nawab kitchen spice, slow-cooked lamb shank, served with baby naan, while my dining partner chose the sharabi jhinga – king prawns marinated in fresh mango, kashmiri chilli, ginger, garlic and fresh coriander, served with basmati rice. Once I caught sight of the prawns though, food envy soon set in, and I was adamant we were going to share! Both dishes had a spicy kick, but the flavours were still subtle. Again, portions were generous, so I’d recommend not overdoing it with the sides, like we did. We also tried the bhindi amchur – cumin-tempered stir-fried okra with onion, tomato and chat masala, plus a garlic naan and some more rice. I was uncomfortably full by the end of this Indian feast – but oh, it was so worth it.
The restaurant also offers another extensive main menu, including classic dishes like mirchi masala chicken, saag paneer, and Hyderabadi lamb biryani, if you’re looking for a more traditional curry night.
With reasonable prices, generous portion sizes, and friendly and knowledgeable staff, the restaurant has, in the past three years, won over the hearts (and stomachs) of Bristol’s locals and foodies. Nutmeg’s aim is to showcase food from all of India’s states, and it’s this dedication, attention to detail and pride in its versatile menu, that sets this place apart from your standard Indian restaurant.
10 The Mall
0117 360 0288