WHEN it comes to dining out in Indian restaurants Hartlepool is certainly spoilt for choice.
The likes of the Indian Cottage and the Dilshad in Church Street are old favourites and seem to have been there for years.
They have been joined in recent times by the likes of Cafe India in Whitby Street and Golden Gate at the bottom of Church Street.
Among the more recent additions have been the restaurants at the marina including Spices and the one I visited, Popadom’s.
The restaurant is situated a little away from the main strip of restaurants on Navigation Point over the wee footbridge in Britannia House on Slake Terrace, next to Krimos.
It’s location certainly doesn’t affect it’s popularity as it seemed pretty busy on a Wednesday evening when my partner and I visited.
The decor is certainly not the clichéd flock wallpaper of ’70s-style Indian restaurant, but is tastefully contemporary and has a very pleasant atmosphere.
We were seated by the friendly staff and our order arrived promptly while we nibbled on some poppadoms and tasty dips as we waited for the first course.
Popadom’s state that Indian food need not rely on hot spices but on subtle, fragrant herbs and spices.
And they go on that the menu reflects their freshly-cooked and lightly-spiced philosophy.
To start we ordered to share between us onion bhaji and palok pakora (both £2.95 each). They were both excellent, especially the pakora, which was delicious.
For the main course my partner chose the vegetable balti (£5.95) and I chose the vegetable madras (£4.95).
To accompany them we ordered mushroom rice (£2.50) and a peshwari naan bread (£2.25).
My partner thought the balti was excellent.
With myself struggling with a heavy cold, I thought a hot madras was just the thing.
But the claim that Popadom’s rely not on hot spices but on subtle, fragrant herbs and spices is certainly true. My madras was not the intense experience one might expect, but a subtle taste sensation and all the better for it.
We both agreed the rice and naan bread tasted lovely, although it is always a struggle to finish the sizeable bread.
The meal was washed down with a pint and a half of draught Cobra (£4.80) which was very nice indeed.
So if you are thinking of working your way through the town’s plethora of Indian restaurants, why not start at Popadom’s?
Popadom’s, Britannia House, Slake Terrace, Hartlepool, TS24 0YD Tel: (01429) 266777.