Clay and Coal is one of my favourite Indian Restaurants. I'm a regular takeaway customer, and have enjoyed eating in the restaurant too. There, I've said it. At one time I used to drive to the snobby centre of Unley to enjoy my Indian fix, but no longer. Let me explain why.
On entering the restaurant you find a comfortable and welcoming waiting area. There are some discreet Indian hangings and artwork, but these aren't over the top in the way usually seen at Mexican restaurants.
The main dining room is split into two smaller areas, with good spacing between tables. (There's nothing worse than an intimate dinner where people at the next table can't help eavesdropping). Again the decor is subdued, with simple modern furniture and comfortable chairs.
I like to order a starter while browsing the wine list, a common choice being Onion Bhaji - a dish easily shared with others at my table. An assortment of vegetarian starters and mains are also on offer, if you prefer. In fact all dishes are clearly labelled as Gluten Free, Lactose Free or Nut Free where applicable, should you have specific needs.
The wine list has a variety of Australian wines with a leaning towards those from S.A. Most prices are in the mid $20 range, with some being available by the glass. As a red wine lover, the Running With Bulls Tempranillo gets my vote.
BYO is an option with a corkage charge of $8 for a 750ml bottle, a fairly average rate.
One of my favourite mains is the Thali, which gives a taste of three different dishes, together with rice, naan and pappadum. I chose it this time over the Saag Chicken which I often have (it's usually not on the menu, but chef Hemant makes it for me anyway). So many choices of mouth watering food are on the menu it is hard to make a decision.
If you're pretty sensitive to chilli then Butter Chicken is a good choice, while at the opposite end of the heat scale is the Beef Vindaloo. I can never manage much Vindaloo without lots of cooling Raita (yoghurt, cucumber and spices) though. There's even a kids' menu offering, although I have seen many happily tucking into the same food as the adults.
I never fail to check the specials board before ordering though, as these change daily and there is often a new surprise awaiting. The choice of specials is probably one of the reasons I keep coming back, especially for takeaway. Other restaurant's menus quickly become boring if there is no variety.
Whatever your choice of main, the prices are good and the food is excellent. Service is normally quite fast - I have only had to wait for takeaway food once recently. This restaurant is very popular, and not just with locals. While I was there I chatted with Tom who was celebrating his birthday with a large group of Comhaltas Set Dancers, who usually meet at the Irish Club on Wesnesday evenings (contact Paul Smith on 8352 8369 for info).
Had the Mutton Curry and Saag Chicken. Both were delightful. The gravies had the right consistency and the flavors for both sublime. I can see why you like this place so much. May have to try Kathleen's suggestion of the pumpkin curry next time.
Thanks Dave for the recommendation. I would have never been otherwise. I am their new fan.