The Snooty Mehmaan is no ordinary Friday-night curryhouse, as MICHELLE TOMPKINS discovers

WHAT better way to celebrate a week of virtuous living than with a fiery hot curry and a glass of wine?


The Snooty Mehmaan
A420, Littleworth, Faringdon, Oxon, SN7 8PW
Tel: 01367 242260
Open: Monday to Saturday, lunch noon to 2.30pm and dinner 6pm to 11pm. Sunday, lunch noon to 4pm and dinner 6pm to 11pm.


It was Friday night and I’d spent the working week on a strict detox plan in the name of good health. Green tea, leafy veg and a few dry crackers were all that had passed my lips for days, so it only seemed proper to mark the end of the regime in style.

And the Snooty Mehmaan is indeed stylish.

If your Friday night curry is usually consumed at 11pm after several pints in the pub, you probably won’t be making the trip down the A420 anytime soon. But if it’s modern, upmarket Asian food you’re after, served in a classy, polished restaurant, it’s worth the 25-minute drive for a taste of something completely different.

Award-winning chef Partha Mittra has devised a menu to appeal to lovers of Thai dishes as well as the more traditional Indian. As luck would have it, I was in the mood for something intensely spicy and Indian to break the monotony of my detox plan, while my friend wanted to try some of the more delicate Thai dishes.

To start, she went for the Tom Yam Soup with prawns (£6), a clear broth loaded with chunks of vegetable and king prawns, not mention a liberal sprinkling of vivid chillies to fire things up. Across the table, I enjoyed the Chicken Achanak (£6), a roasted red pepper stuffed with chopped chicken and tamarind. I love the sweetness of roasted peppers at any time, but the savoury spice of the stuffing added a whole other delicious dimension. It was just what I needed to kickstart the tastebuds again.

The Thai main courses are divided into stir fries, curries and noodles, with several rice variations to complement them. My friend chose the chicken Pad Thai (£10), with sticky rice (£4) alongside, and was more than happy with her choice.The plate came heaped with noodles, bean sprouts, spring onions, bean curd and ground peanuts; the colours vibrant and appetising.

I had deliberated over the salmon paturi (wrapped in a leaf, £15) or the coriander fish curry (£12), but went for the latter when the waiter gave me a knowing nod, as if to say “very good choice, madam”. Instead of my usual naan, I opted instead for lemon rice (£4) but as usual found there was far too much for one person.

The curry, however, was perfect. Half a dozen large pieces of tilapia fish sat in a fiery orange sauce, with no small kick of fresh coriander to lift the taste. It was fresh and light in texture, but loaded with flavour, and I could have eaten twice as much (with half the amount of rice).

With two large glasses of pinot grigio (£6) and two coffees (£3 each), our bill came to £60 - a bit more than your usual Friday night curry feast, perhaps. But as a flavour-filled way to end a week of fasting, it absolutely hit the spot.