Dinner At The Bay Leaf Indian, Heanor
Don’t panic dear reader I haven’t lost my marbles just yet, well not all of them anyway! My flock looked at me a bit strange when I suggested going for a Curry, what with it being a smidge on the warm side. It really is one of those myths that eating spicy food will make you feel hotter, a bit like drinking hot drinks makes you feel hotter too. As we all know, a lovely cuppa hits the spot just right on a warm day, and so it was the same with the meal we had at The Bay Leaf Restaurant.
From the outside the restaurant looks very unassuming but as soon as you hop inside it is beautifully decorated. There are a couple of murals in shades of green on two walls, exquisitely painted by local Heage artist Mandy-jayne Ahlfors, and these are contrasted with black and white flock panels on two sides. The rest of the decor is fairly neutral, with the table linen picking up the green accents. The floor space is very generous which allows a fair numbers of tables to be covered without any of them being crowded.
Yet again, we allowed the Tribal Elders to gatecrash the party and join us in dining out seeing as they had been well behaved recently. On Sundays and Tuesdays the Bay Leaf does a four course buffet option for £8.95 per person, which can be upgraded to include any Combo, Speciality or Seafood Dish for an extra £3. The selection of dishes was mind-boggling; our flock changed its mind several times before firm decisions were reached, always a good sign when there are lots of tempting morsels. We ordered some poppadoms and pickle tray to munch on while we were deciding on our main courses. I should just mention at this point that when we were seated our waiter placed the napkins in our laps for us, another positive sign.
For starters we had Chicken Pakora, Mushroom Combo, Chicken Shashlik, King Prawn Puri and Spicy Aloo with Garlic Mushroom. They all arrived on square platters with Salad Garnish arranged to highlight the presentation, and they really did look lovely. The batter on the Pakora, Mushroom Combo and Spicy Aloo was superbly crispy and not greasy - everything you wish for in a fried dish. All the meats were succulent, and portion sizes were very generous for starters. In addition, two sauces were presented in little sauce boats if anyone required them. Murmurs of satisfaction could be heard from our table as we tucked in with gusto, and we were trading titbits from our plates to each other as we all wanted to share the pleasure of our choices between ourselves.
Our plates were cleared away and fresh cutlery placed before us in readiness for the main dishes. For this course we ordered Chicken Shashlik, Chicken Dhansak, King Prawn Kurma, Chicken Afghan Chana and the Seafood Lazeez, and we had Lemon Fried Rice, Plain Pilau Rice, a Roti Bread and Garlic Naan Bread too. As with the starters, the main courses were presented on square platters, all were beautifully garnished and presented cleanly on the plates not just slopped on. Man Bird liked the fact the he didn’t have to fiddle about with putting the curry on his plate from another dish - but this is because he normally manages to spill a bit!
Anyhow, My Mummy Bird said her Shashlik was really tasty which pleased us as it was a bit spicier than some of her previous choices at Indian restaurants, and she said that the onions were very tasty too. Daddy Bird had plumped for the Dhansak, another choice he was pleased about, and he said that it was extremely flavoursome. My Chickadee had Kurma on this occasion and there was a very satisfying amount of King Prawns to be seen amongst the sauce. She was very happy and said that her dish was yummy.
I had chosen the Seafood Lazeez which is a dish I haven’t had before, and I have to say that it was delicious; the Scallops were juicy and not overcooked, and there were several large chunks of Salmon all of which were moist but firm - testament to the skill of the Chef at The Bay Leaf. There was an abundance of Prawns and King Prawns to be had too, so I was an extremely happy bird. I liked the fact that you could make out the Citrus flavours alongside the Cardamom and Ginger too, everything really did balance lovely.
Last but not least is the Boy Wonders Afghan Chana, again a new dish that he had never tried before. As soon as the dish was placed before him you could see the chick peas in the sauce alongside fulsome chunks of Chicken, and it smelled absolutely divine. This curry was described as medium spicy with a slightly sour taste (due to the Lemon), and this was exactly what it was. “Lovely and lively on the taste buds“ were the words Hubster used to describe it.
The rice dishes and bread were all excellent too, freshly done and you really could tell this in every beakful.
For the final course you have a choice of either coffee or Ice Cream, so we had 4 coffees and one ice cream. The coffees came with those little biscuits and some after dinner mints too, and a lollipop for my Chick.
Throughout the evening the Staff were all so polite and attentive, they really couldn’t do enough for you. They were clean and smart too, and as I say just really, really nice to you.
The Bay Leaf isn’t licensed for alcohol so you can take your own, but they have an extensive selection of soft drinks to choose from.
All in all, we had a top notch evening at The Bay Leaf, so I am confident in my recommendation of this establishment to you dear reader. Another fantastic eatery in the Amber Valley that has earned my “Hot Wings“ award.