Memories of India is situated a few miles west of Chichester on the main A259 road. It seems to be a rather strange location, about a mile from the village of Bosham. It is, however, very close to Bosham railway station and is also on the route of the 700 Stagecoach bus that runs between Portsmouth and Brighton.
The long, narrow seating area to the left of the entrance is one of several. With its fitted carpet and festooned fabric on the ceiling, the interior seems quite stylish. Tablecloths and napkins are linen, and the chairs have upholstered seating with slightly curved wooden backrests. Between this area and the bar is a low table with easy chairs for customers waiting for takeaway orders. Just in front of the bar stands a delightful wooden statue of an elephant.
When you are seated the waiter is very quick off the mark to put the napkin on your lap for you. A candle is lit and menus are brought. Memories of India has a good choice of starters, ranging from Onion Bhaji (£3.75) through Sheek Kebab (£4.50) to King Prawn Butterfly (£6.95). The main menu takes off with an extensive selection entitled Tandoori Cuisine and Chef’s Recommendations. These include Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Tikka and Chicken Jalfrezi, all at £8.95; Garlic Chilli Lamb or Lamb Karai, both £9.25; or Jingha Charga, a king prawn dish, at £13.95. Biryani dishes are priced between £7.50 and £12.95, and there is a selection of meat and chicken dishes such as Korma, Dhansak and Vindaloo, all at £6.95. The four choices of Balti, three Goan and four Hash (duck) dishes range in price from £11.25 to £12.95. Vegetarians have fifteen dishes to choose from, including Sabzi Massala at £5.75, Sabzi Bahar at £6.25 and Sabzi Suganda at £6.95. The seafood dishes are all based on prawns, for example Chingri Madras at £7.75 and Jhinga Bhuna at £11.95. One of the most unusual sections on the menu is the Fish Specialities, where you will find five choices, including Ayre Jalfrezi at £12.95 and Meen Molee (coconut sea bass curry) at £13.95.
Vegetable side dishes are all priced £3.95 and include Vegetable Curry, Fresh Mushroom Bhaji, Bombay Aloo and Chana Massala. There is a choice of eight Indian Breads, such as Chapathi at £1.75. Rice, Papadams and Banana Sambol are listed under Sundries; Kashmiri Rice with fruits is £3.95.
Meen Molee is an unusual dish to find on a restaurant menu and is definitely worth trying if you are a fish lover. It is a recipe from Kerala that uses fresh coconut, onions, garlic and chilli to make the sea bass curry. The fish at Memories of India is specially flown in from Bengal. The Meen Molee comes on a huge oval-shaped plate and consists of three good-sized pieces of sea bass fillet with plenty of sauce. It is certainly something special – beautifully cooked sea bass in a sauce with delicate flavours. Perhaps not a dish for those who like very hot, spicy curries, but something unusual for anyone who loves fish and subtle flavours. The Kashmiri Rice is also very impressive; it contains a lot of lychee pieces and one or two pieces of pineapple as well. The Chicken Pasanda is served in a small but deep bowl, with flaked almonds on the surface. The pieces of chicken are extremely tender, and the sauce is mild and creamy without being too rich. Again, this is not a dish for those who want a fiery curry when they visit an Indian restaurant.
Memories of India offers a selection of fruit, sweets and liqueur coffees at £1.75, which sounds very reasonable. There is also coffee with cream at £1.50.
Sealed hot towels are brought after you finish eating, and chocolate mints come with the bill. The service is efficient and very polite. One or two of the waiters are not over-confident with their English, but that is perhaps a minor criticism.
The music played is a mixture of Western and Oriental songs, as though the restaurant is trying to please everyone a little. It is not so loud as to make conversation difficult.
There is just one ladies’ and one gents’ toilet, although there is a disabled toilet as well. The ladies’ is very clean and well appointed, with a washbasin, hand-drier and two mirrors. All the toilets are on the ground floor and are easily accessible.
During late afternoon and early evening, there is a steady stream of takeaway customers but few people eating in. A look at the takeaway menu shows that prices are considerably lower, but the food is of such a high standard that the eat-in prices are still excellent value. There used to be an Indian restaurant called the Tiffin Room in Southsea that was the best in the area; unfortunately it closed down more than a year ago. The cuisine at Memories of India, however, equals that of the Tiffin Room, and the restaurant itself is more stylish. It may sound as though it is in an out-of-the-way location, but it is actually within easy reach of Chichester, Emsworth or Havant. By car the journey from Portsmouth would not be a long one. For those who love Indian food and are in the area, Memories of India is definitely worth a visit.
Opening times: Monday to Thursday 12 noon – 2pm and 5.30pm – 12 midnight;
Friday to Sunday 12 noon – 12 midnight, including bank holidays; on Sunday there is a buffet from 12 noon to 4.30pm.
Memories of India
Main Road (A259)
Tel. 01243 572234/575016
1. The 10 Best Indian Restaurants in West Sussex – TripAdvisor
2. The 10 Best Indian Restaurants in Worthing – TripAdvisor