Ruchee is a rather traditional ‘curry house’ style restaurant in terms of décor but it is clean and comfortable and, with the lights dimmed, rather cosy; some guests at another table kept muttering about the cold and kept their coats on but we were fine.
We’d been advised that the menu comprised only specials and that if we wanted something like a jalfrezi or a korma we could ask, but we wouldn’t find it on the menu. That was incorrect as those curry house favourites on the menu, but the specials are more prominent and the jalfrezis, etc are not described, just listed. In this restaurant the so-called specials come in at roughly the same price as the curry house classics. We both chose from this selection and could have chosen any of a handful of dishes that we either hadn’t seen before, or don’t see very often.
To start we ordered just a couple of popadoms and a pickle tray. The latter came with spicy onion salad, a minty yoghurt and a radioactive looking pink mango chutney. It would have been appreciated if a hotter pickle could have been included.
Our mains arrived in good time and while they were presented very simply, the first impression was often colourful attractive looking food. I had chosen Sylheti fish massala, pieces of steamed pangasius (that’s Vietnamese river cobbler) in a spicy tomato based sauce. The fish was, in my opinion, only just cooked so I made a point of not transferring too much too my plate and letting it cook through a bit longer on the plate warmer to be sure. The sauce was disappointing; while it certainly had a fiery kick it lacked layers of flavour and was a bit one dimensional.
Himself was having the Nababi Khana and given the choice of lamb or chicken, opted for lamb. The pieces were a decent size and the meat was nicely cooked. The naga is reputedly the hottest chilli you can get nowadays and so it tends be used not directly as an ingredient, but made into a sauce and a small amount of the sauce added to a curry sauce. Himself broke into a gentle seat but said the heat was just about manageable and the burn didn’t last too long (as he was later able to try my meal, which he declared "pretty hot" the burn from his clearly did subside quite quickly). I was not brave enough to try this dish. Apart from the differing level of heat, this dish differed from the one I had in that the sauce had distinctive nuances of flavour and individual spices could be picked out.
Two chapattis and a portion of plain pilau rice completed our meal. We were full without feeling stuffed and felt that the portion sizes were good value for money. Our final bill came to just over £21 for poppadoms and pickles, two mains, rice, chapattis, a diet coke and a bottle of Cobra.
Although local opinion was divided as to which of Halifax’s Indian restaurants is the best, Masters Ruchee got one of the strongest recommendations and so we rolled up around 8.30pm on a Saturday night in search of a good dinner. We hadn’t booked but the restaurant was quiet and we were given a window table which allowed us to watch the comings and goings on the street.