Clay Oven Restaurant

'The Clay Oven' is one of the finest Indian restaurants in the whole of Gambia and is located in Banjul. Contemporary Indian dishes are mixed with more authentic and classic traditional dishes to create a truly unique menu. Using tandoori ovens made using Indian clay, burning charcoal provides a constant heat on which to cook as well as adding a distinctive flavour to the dishes. The Dum Phukt method of cooking is used, with dough used to seal the delicious ingredients within a dish, helping to retain all the flavours of the herbs and spices. The philosophy of the restaurant is that good food strengthens both the body and the mind. It believes that a great curry does not have to be hot and spicy to be enjoyed but can also be mild and aromatic. A beautiful phrase used by the restaurant is that a good meal is enjoyed three times once in anticipation, once in consumption and once in remembrance. The skilled chefs are proud to be producing classic Indian dishes such as murg angara and murg tikkas which originated in the north, as well as johl, a fisherman's curry from the south - not to mention the delicious coconut dishes of Kerala. There is a focus on the fresh seafood that is so readily available in Gambia such as prawns, crab, cray fish and smoked oysters. A highly recommended fish dish is macchi naryail which consists of fillets of fish in a spiced coconut sauce, or for a hotter dish there is chilli crab with freshly ground spices. There is a wide selection of different breads on the menu and aromatic dishes made with basmati rice. Desserts are taken to another level at 'The Clay Oven'. Traditional Indian desserts are enhanced with a contemporary twist and dark chocolate kulfi is highly recommended. Samosas are transformed from a savoury snack to a delicious sweet with chocolate and nuts. Presentation of dishes is exceptional, with a fine display of all the natural colours of Indian dishes such as greens, reds and yellows. The choice of wines at the Clay Oven is extensive and customers are invited to visit the wine room.

The menu includes shuruaat hors d'oeuvres such as samosa, onion bhajis, jeera alu with sliced potatoes and spices, mixed pakoras, jeera murg chicken wings fried with cumin and chingri shashlick marinated prawns in spices and sauteed in butter. Tandoori specials include sheek kebab with lamb, tandoori machchi marinated fish in yoghurt and ground masala, paneer shashlick, tikka cottage cheese marinated in spicy yoghurt and tandoori mixed grills. There are 'Clay Oven' specials such as murg chingri naryail, imlidaar batak, methi malai lamb, handi murg, kashmiri pillau and shahi biryani. Sabzi vegetables range from spicy chick pea dishes such as chollay masala, lentil dishes such as tarka dall and urad dall; also baked aubergine dishes such as baingan bartha and bhindi bhaji with fired okra feature on the menu. There is a vast selection of poultry, lamb and seafood dishes to choose from. Rice as an accompaniment is available in a range of dishes such as chawal, khumb pillau, nhimbu chawal, pillau chawal, sabzi biryani, chingri biryani and pillau chawal. Nan bread and stuffed nan are available on the menu as well as paratha, kheema and peshwaari nan, roti and phulka. Sweet or salted lassi makes a wonderful accompaniment to a meal. Side dishes include salads and raita with yoghurt, cucumber and onion. The dessert menu is extensive and includes such delicious dishes as khajli, a crispy filled pastry with almonds, cottage cheese and chocolate and served with saffron and ice cream, as well as a variety of kulfis, Indian ice cream with mango or nuts. Gulab jambun are little semolina cakes served with syrup and ice cream.

'The Clay Oven' can be found at Atlantic Road, Fajara Booster Station, just behind the Voluntary Service Overseas office in Bakau. The restaurant is open for lunch between the hours of 12 and 3pm and for dinner between the hours of 7 and 11.30pm, every day of the week. The main restaurant seats up to 70 people while the garden area has seating for 100 with standing room for 250. There are also private rooms available with seating for up to 10 or up to 20 guests. The lunch menu focuses on freshness and prompt service and the roti dishes are recommended. Booking is recommended for evening tables to avoid disappointment. There is a special tandoori sizzler night each Tuesday evening. Dress code is smart, casual at all times. Wheelchair access is via a separate entrance.

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