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Desh in West Malling provides dash of spice for isolation lunch date


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"Imagine rejuvenating the senses in a cosy interior, where you’re greeted by warm, eye-soothing colours and a cheerful cacophony – all complemented by sweet and soft music, along with the tantalising aroma of Indian food served with refreshing cocktails."

The website for Desh in West Malling was certainly inviting... "You are indeed in good company, where exceptional customer service and mouth-watering Indian dishes await to satiate your hunger, calm your soul, and fill you up to the brim with positive energy."

Chris Hunter tries out the Chilli Chicken Kathi wrap from Desh
Chris Hunter tries out the Chilli Chicken Kathi wrap from Desh

Yes, just imagine. A trip to Desh sounds like a tantalising prospect indeed, and after 10 days in isolation due to testing positive for coronavirus the allure of a meal out in such surroundings had grown to mouth-watering proportions far beyond tantalising.

But then the worst happened.

Having tested negative throughout my 10 days in isolation my girlfriend Laura suddenly fell ill with the dreaded Covid too, and we were faced with another 10 days locked in her flat behind West Malling High Street - a literal stone’s throw from the eye-soothing colours and cheerful cacophony of Desh, if you could aim a stone accurately over the top of the near side of the high street.

Not that we were going to try throwing stones at Desh of course, despite the frustration of being able to eat there and the fact that we had another 10 days of isolation boredom to practice such banal activities as throwing stones over buildings.

Instead we would just have to take the website’s advice and imagine eating there.

Desh is somewhere in that direction on the High Street behind these buildings in West Malling
Desh is somewhere in that direction on the High Street behind these buildings in West Malling

Not that the surroundings were that bad in the flat of course - the sophisticated white interior was eye-soothing enough and Laura's Spotify playlist provides as much cacophony as you could wish for. Even better, Desh’s website had an even more practical solution - takeaway delivery.

There was a £30 minimum limit for delivery orders but we thought we’d chance our arm, on the basis of that stone’s throw proximity.

I ordered a Kolkatta Style Chilli Chicken Kathi wrap and Lamb Seekh with Raita kebab, both with masala covered chips, plus a can of coke, which came to £18, then asked if it could be delivered as we were just around the corner...

“I’ll just have to check” said the lady on the phone, and I held my breath until she returned with the bad news.

“Sorry there’s a £30 minimum for delivery. Would you be able to pick it up?”

Desh in West Malling. Image from Google
Desh in West Malling. Image from Google

“I would normally but we’re supposed to be in self isolation... I mean I suppose I could just nip over.... ”

“Let me just ask again.”

Ah, there was hope, and this time she returned with better news.

“Yes we can do it, but there’s a £2 delivery fee.”

Well it seemed a small price to pay to avoid my cooking - and as it was my turn to provide lunch I snapped up the chance. Top marks to Desh for being helpful in this hour of need.

The chilli chicken and lamb seekh kebab wrap with masala coated chips from Desh
The chilli chicken and lamb seekh kebab wrap with masala coated chips from Desh

Our meal arrived promptly about 15 minutes later and all we had to do was pick the venue - the sofa, with its added value of TV entertainment, or the more sophisticated option of the dining table.

We opted for the latter, where we could concentrate on the dishes and their "authentic flavours with a modern twist without the distraction of the TV.

But would we be able to taste them? Although I had only briefly been robbed of my sense of smell and taste the previous week, Laura seemed to have lost them to a greater degree and was only just being able to taste certain flavours.

Thankfully if we couldn’t taste which was which, the seekh kebab was conveniently labelled “I am shek kebab”, but happily we can report the flavours came through, and our senses were rejuvenated as the website promised.

The chilli chicken and lamb seekh kebab wrap with masala coated chips from Desh
The chilli chicken and lamb seekh kebab wrap with masala coated chips from Desh

The chicken wrap was lightly spiced with subtle flavours, while the lamb kebab was meaty and delicious, and Laura was happy to report the masala covered chips packed a "spicy kick".

Was it worth it for £18?

Definitely the food was a cut above the average takeaway, and the fact Desh broke their own delivery rules to help us out gave the meal added value - although I'll look forward to 'rejuvenating the senses' further still in Desh's actual restaurant when we're finally allowed.

After the food I was able to kick back and observe the surroundings, including the clock on the wall, stuck at seven minutes past seven as if to symbolise the never changing situation we were stuck in.

Meanwhile the picture of 'Kevin the Cow' on the wall, reminded us that one day we'll be able to moo-ve somewhere else.

The clock on the wall, permanently stuck at seven minutes past seven
The clock on the wall, permanently stuck at seven minutes past seven

All in all the lunch date went well and we agreed to meet at the same place for dinner and breakfast for the foreseeable future.

Desh, High Street, West Malling/takeaway in flat

Food: There are probably finer dishes in the restaurant but the wraps were a perfect flavour-filled lunch*****

Drink: It was just a Coca Cola, but perfectly delivered, while the the tap water from the flat was also thirst quenching ***

Decor: We can only imagine the inside of Desh, but it sounds amazing **** The flat meanwhile has a relaxed yet sophisticated vibe, although the walls seem to get closer each day ****

Staff: They went out of their way to help when they realised we couldn't pick up lunch *****

Price: A bit more than you'd pay for the average takeaway lunch - but delicious nonetheless ****

For more reviews on places to eat in Kent, click here

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