(Emily Sandé) – The Bengal Tiger, Heybridge, Maldon

It was Thursday evening, the ladies were out for dinner, so once again it fell to John Halliday and me to go for a sneaky curry.

In the past we’d (successfully) tried Live Dosa in Chelmsford, Nawab in South Woodham Ferrers, and Saffron in Rayleigh. This time the ladies were dining in Danbury, so we headed over to the Bengal Tiger at Heybridge, just outside Maldon; it had received good reviews on Tripadvisor and I had a ‘Taste’ card that gave 2 for 1 meals – it would be rude not to!

I phoned ahead but were advised that we didn’t need to book, and as we arrived (at 7pm) the place was empty, and cold, John didn’t take his quilted jacket off through the whole meal.

I advised the waiter that we had a taste card, the taste card app suggested it was two for one on mains and starters, but the waiter insisted that we had to order starter, main and side. Okay, whatever. John ordered the Prawn Puree starter – which came folded, but jammed full of juicy prawns, while I ordered the Tandoori Lamb Chops – delicious but just two small chops, come on guys.

Tandoori Lamb Chops at Bengal Tiger - Heybridge @ Tolfalas.com

For mains we both went for the Chilli Chicken Tikka Biryani. Normally I request the accompanying vegetable curry to be ‘madras’ heat, but as this was ‘chilli’ I didn’t. The biryani itself was tasty enough, with a good handful of green ‘bird’ chillis chopped through it. I regretted not asking for the hotter vegetables though.

Chilli Chicken Tikka Biryani (with Paratha) at Bengal Tiger - Heybridge @ Tolfalas.com

The waiter tried the inevitable up-sell (hey, I watch ‘The Apprentice’) – would we like Naan bread? I pointed out that the menu said that the Chilli Chicken Tikka Biryani came with a plain paratha, and he commented that he’d never noticed that. Hmmm.

Sides were saag bhaji and mattar paneer (cheesey peas), but tasty enough.

Saag Bhaji and Cheesy Peas at Bengal Tiger - Heybridge @ Tolfalas.com

John was driving, so had a small bottle of Cobra beer, while I had a large bottle of Kingfisher. We finished with a couple of coffees.

And so to the bill. Somehow, despite the ‘two for one’ offer we still ended up paying a little shy of twenty quid each, but couldn’t be bothered to question the calculations.

Given that, (but for three ‘youngsters’ who devoured their meals while we drank our coffee), we were the only customers that evening – the waiters were cashing up as we left at about nine thirty – they won’t be getting rich on that night’s takings.

This observation may be a little harsh as nearby Maldon were holding their Christmas shopping evening but, to be honest, we won’t be returning to try again.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

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