The Derbar - Restaurant Reviews

Derbar: High Street, Banchory

By Scott Begbie

Published: 11/09/2009

TRUE confession time ... Derbar will always have a special place in my heart.

It was where my beloved and I went for our first dinner date all those years ago before she became Mrs B.

We both still remember the tentative chat that turned into a warm and easy conversation.

The two of us bonded over beer and curry at the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

So it was time to see if our love affair with the Derbar had stood the test of time so well.

And there’s no denying it’s an attractive place, a beamed loft that is light and airy in summer, warm and welcoming in winter.

The staff are just as warm and welcoming – even on the night we visited when the place was packed to those wooden rafters.

One thing hadn’t changed for our return visit – the menu.

It’s a humungous affair, going on for pages with all sorts of delicacies and delights – and the rather out-of-place mince and tatties.

To kick the reunion off, I opted for something different to my usual pakora or lamb tikka – the Derbar kofta wrap (£3.95).

I was rewarded with tasty kebabs in the lightest of chapati-style bread that carried a zingy kick.

Over the table, Mrs B was prodding her vegetable samosa (£3.95) with a fork looking dismayed.

“The pastry is thick, the veg is a mush and it’s just really bland,” she said.

Oops. Was a lovers’ tiff in the offing? Not really, because things turned around with the arrival of our main courses.

Mrs B was drawn to the chicken lazatder (£7.95) thanks to its promise of lentils – she’s a dhansak girl at heart.

Her dish was a rich stew of tikka-style chicken that was all garlic and ginger.

It warmed rather than wowed on the chilli front, but that suited her down to the ground.

Meanwhile, I was tucking into my chicken masalandar (£7.95).

The tangy sauce set my tastebuds tingling, with the punjabi spices giving the dish sharp, but not overwhelming, notes.

With big chunks of chicken breast, this was the sort of dish you scrape the bowl clean for, then reach to the garlic naan to ensure you get every morsel.

Our return visit wasn’t as misty-eyed as our first as a soon-to-be-couple. But it was still a worthy treat that we savoured and enjoyed.