Akbar's Restaurant

King George's Hall, Northgate, Blackburn

Akbar's opened with the familiar razzamatazz you would expect from a major restaurant brand. But is it any good?

I am not taken in by the glitz and glamour by any means when new curry houses open.

We have had a number of new places launch over the years each claiming to bring their own ‘exclusive’ tastes to town.

We headed down to Akbar’s, soon after it launched during the month of Ramadan, and it was very busy.

The new seating layout has made the restaurant a lot more welcoming and the interior design is impeccable.

Akbar’s have over the years never been afraid to experiment and this interior works.

The old layout left a lot to be desired. Gone are the boring leather booths and they have been replaced by vibrant, smaller private seats which allow the restaurant to cater for more people.

The private room has been revamped and there are also a number of larger seating areas for bigger parties.

On our visit, we opted for lamb and chicken curries. A friend who wished to take charge of ordering told us it was a ‘secret stash’.

Basically, it was a Karahi dish 'for Asians' who wanted something to remind them of the famous curries they had when they visited Pakistan - otherwise known as the Charsi Karahi.

It came in a large pan and I have to be honest it was not what I was expecting at Akbar's.

This was the type of dish you were more than likely to get from one of those backstreet Punjabi takeaways - but that's not a bad thing.

After a few bites of the lamb dish, we were picking out the green chillies. I mean, the curry was excellent but a tad too spicy even for the seasoned professionals.

The chicken dish was a little less spicy and I think they had got that just right.

Lancashire Telegraph: The curry was cooked and served in the same pan

You can’t come to Akbar’s and not have the large free-standing naans. I tend to go for the traditional roti as the naans are just a novelty.

I have never been a fan of them because, by the time you have one half, the other half has turned to crust, but it kept our group happy.

The waiters were eager to please and everyone got a great welcome.

Of course, it is pricey, but it appears you can’t go anywhere these days without forking out a least £60 for two people.

Now, a few pointers.

I like the fact this is a licenced restaurant as it had a great mix of people all enjoying their meals alongside one another, whether they prefer a pint or glass of wine with their meal or a soft drink.

I think more places in the town centre should be licenced so we can all celebrate good food together.

That is not to say this only happens in licenced places, but everyone has their own preferences.

There really was a great atmosphere on our Friday night visit here with the owner visiting the tables to check and chat with diners.

I do think the spot still remains hidden away a bit with all the building works going on, but once they are complete that should change.

Also, most of us aren’t coming here till after six so we can avoid those overzealous traffic wardens.

On the whole, this is a great addition to the town and the curries did match other places I have been to. 

One is not entirely sure one is in Blackburn when you step inside. Probably a good thing once in a while.

Reviews are paid for by the customer and are unannounced.