Takeout Stakeout: Clifton (Docklands)

Dave Haste
By Dave Haste Last edited 128 months ago
Takeout Stakeout: Clifton (Docklands)
Lamb xacuti, sag aloo, pilau rice

Londonist brings it on home


32 Westferry Road, E14 8LW

Delivery Area: Docklands

020 7001 2999

12pm – 3pm, 5.30pm – midnight (last orders 30 mins before closing)

Expect to Pay: £10 – £15 per person

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

In the dim and distant past, the only half-decent takeaway option on the Isle of Dogs was ‘The Gaylord’ Indian restaurant near the bottom of Manchester Road. Despite feeding us well for many years – and amusing us with their advertising slogan (“There is only one Gaylord in the East End”) – the restaurant, whilst still excellent in its own right, struggled to keep our attention as we became somewhat over-familiar with it.

Nowadays the Isle of Dogs has several more takeout options, although the majority of them are still focussed on Indian food. Many of these relatively new arrivals have sought to differentiate themselves from the traditional ‘curry house’ with up-market branding and the use of phrases such as ‘innovative’ and ‘evolved’. We decided to try out one of the new breed of the peninsula’s posh takeouts and sample the delivery wares of the somewhat swanky Clifton restaurant near the top of Westferry Road.

The menu (available with online ordering) is not too shabby, with a good balance of tried-and-tested Indian favourites and more interesting (but still apparently authentic) dishes. After a fairly lengthy period of deliberation, we opted for the ‘lamb xacuti’ (“a very popular Goan dish”) with a side of sag aloo, with pilau rice and a garlic naan. After a short and rather shouty telephone conversation (the restaurant was very noisy that night), the deal was done.

When the food arrived (with obligatory free poppadoms), we realised that it was a good thing that we were hungry. The portions were very generous, but would the quality of the food live up to the restaurant’s hype?

Pretty much, yes. The lamb xacuti, whilst more robust than we would have expected from a Goan dish, was aromatic and flavoursome – we identified very obvious hints of cloves and coriander, whilst we were pleasantly surprised by a rich tomato flavour and the sharp bite of green chilis. It was a bit more oily than we would have liked, but hey. The sag aloo was simple and excellent, rich, almost creamy in texture and perfectly savoury. The pilau rice was about as exciting as rice is meant to be, but the garlic naan was rather anonymous.

Innovative? Not hugely. Well-executed? Definitely. The Clifton have some stiff competition from other ‘posh’ Indian eateries in the area (Lime, Spice Merchants, etc.), but they’re still worth checking out.

Last Updated 05 May 2008